Week 93

26th September, 2010

We leave Sifnos one week today or that is our plan. We have planned to spend two nights in Patras on the Peloponnese, take a 24 hour ferry up the Adriatic to Ancona in Italy, stay at Lake Lugano and then drive to Metz in France where we spend the night before going on to Zeebrugge in Belgium for the ferry to UK. Unfortunately, Pauline’s Mum was taken ill last night and had to go to hospital this morning. It is uncertain how serious it is but, if we have to, we will try to urgently rearrange and leave a week early by leaving the island on Monday night. We will see.

If there is a hiatus in this Blog, it will be because of the above.

27th September, 2010

Unfortunately, we have had to make the decision to leave the island tonight – six days early. Pauline’s Mum had a bad night and we have been instructed to get home. We have contacted three different ferry companies and three different hotels and all have been wonderfully helpful and rearranged our bookings at the drop of a hat and at very little extra cost. I think a £2,000.00 trip has been rearranged at an extra cost of about £150.00.

Tuesday we get on Anek Lines Olympic Champion.


We will be in Hull at 8.30 am on Saturday morning.

28th September, 2010

Having sailed through the night on the F/B Korais and arrived in Piraeus at 6.00 am this morning, we have driven through the lorry blockade to Patras on the Peloppenese. It is now 11.00 am and we are having breakfast and waiting to board our Anek Lines ferry, Olympic Champion to Italy. It is a sweaty 27C/81F and we retreat to the airconditioning of our car to wait in comfort with a copy of The Times.

john_patras.jpg  olympic_champion-01.jpg

When go on board, we upgraded to a Deluxe Cabin which is huge, has a settee and armchairs, a television and a fridge with complimentary wine, etc.. In brochure terms, we should have paid an extra €140.00 but, because the boat is so empty, we were charged just €35.00. After an early dinner, we had an early night.

29th September, 2010

During the night, my mobile bleeped messages from Albania and Croatia and, as we woke, we are five hours off Italy. Clocks go back an hour and the bacon & eggs breakfast is a little harder to eat. I use the ferry’s satellite for internet connection and listen to the Today programme. Poor old David Milliboots. He has to start again.

Our cabin is dominated by a huge floor to ceiling porthole which, as I write at 8.00 am (UK time), shows a blue sky and fleecy, white clouds  over a calm and blue Adriatic sea. We are about four hours from Ancona and the next leg of our drive.


The ferry docked two hours late and put us under pressure to reach our hotel at Lake Lugano. We still stopped at the local Italian supermarket and bought huge chunks of Parmigiano Reggiano and about fifty bottles of glorious red wine. To add to our problems, our Sat. Nav. decided that the quickest route was through the centre of Milan at rush hour. Twenty years ago, Pauline and I flew to Milan and spent a few days sight-seeing. We stayed in the Hotel City on the Corsa Buenos Aires – the biggest and busiest shopping street in Milan. We were in awe of the traffic chaos even then. Imagine my shock when I found myself driving past that hotel in the street at 6.00 pm in the twilight. I’m glad I did it but I don’t want to do it again too soon. Below is a photo I found of the Corsa Buenos Aires, Milano with the City Hotel on the right.


We didn’t arrive at the hotel, which overlooked the lake, until 9.30 pm. If you’ve ever staying in a Swiss hotel, you’ll know that the restaurant closes promptly at 10.00 pm. We just made it.

30th September, 2010

The BBC website had said we could expect rain throughout our journey. In fact we saw none until late this afternoon as we approached Metz, the capital of the Lorraine region and where we will stay tonight.

I haven’t had chance to tell you yet but just as I was surprised to hear from Mike out of the blue so I was shocked to receive a text message as I dozed on a 22 hr ferry passage from Greece to Italy. You may all be aware that, as you travel across country borders so you swap mobile airtime providers. Even within Greece we are constantly swapping three different providers: Cosmote, Vodafone and Wind. As our connection automatically drops one provider and picks up another, we get a text message welcoming us to the provider. This can happen four or five times per day. When travelling through Europe, it happens even more often. As we sailed down the Adriatic with countries on both sides, we are inundated with ‘Welcome’s. When another one came in, I was about to delete it when I was flabberghasted to find it was Liz. First Michael and now Lizzie Dripping. This is what she said:

Hello John

I was reading all the back blog last night as I’ve not been able to access it recently. Hope Pauline’s Mum is OK and that you and Pauline take care on your way back. I enjoy your Blog and would want you to carry on. Me ‘got issues’. What ever do you mean?

Love Liz

Almost immediately afterwards I received a text from Ruth in a strange language saying:

Flying back 2dy Liz has told me abt Paulines mum will ring u 2moz lots of hugs 2 u both


Ruth & Kevan

I emailed Liz from Metz:

How lovely to hear from you. I was sailing up the Adriatic when it came in and it was a lovely surprise particularly having just heard from Mike a couple of weeks before. You will see I have featured it in the Blog for this week which I am currently writing in a hotel in Metz in northern France.In my view, Jane felt a little challenged when the Blog / Website became required reading for members of the family. She saw/sees herself as the lynchpin (anointed by Mum) and it must have looked as if the prodigal had returned and was usurping her hard won position. In actuality, I was just trying to enjoy my writing while also trying to mend a few fences but, obviously, not very successfully. We all have ‘issues’ not least Caroline and Jane and Me. You don’t exactly hide yours but why should you? They define your relationships with others in the family. Mum was fond of being scandalised, on the one hand, by family members isolating themselves while encouraging it, on the other hand, by playing family members of against each other.

These ‘issues’ are part of the joy and sadness of life. Now I am retired, I have more time to reflect on them and put them in perspective. Have a lovely weekend. I’m going to be house hunting. Lovely to hear from you. We should do it more often.

Lots of love John

1st October, 2010


Left the Metz hotel still full after the most amazing dinner last night. We forwent breakfast and drove to Thionville at Sortir 40 on the N4. We try to stop there at the Carrefour for more wine, mustard, patés, oils, etc. By that time we gave in and had breakfast of croissants with apricot jam and delicious coffee. We left at 11.00 am and drove the last three hours to Zeebrugge. We read last Sunday’s papers while we waited to board the final ferry. At 4.00 am we get to our Club Class cabin where I drink my first British beer for six months and watch British television.

We went to bed over full again after a fantastic dinner and go to bed early after losing two hours on our Greek body clocks. The weather is excellent and the sea is calm. Our cabin is quiet apart from my snoring. Just before we sleep, the BBC News tells us that two competitors in the Gordon Bennett race are lost, feared drowned in the Adriatic off Italy. If I’d known sooner, I could have looked out for them!

2nd October, 2010

Huge buffet breakfast and then disembarcation. We spent an hour on the motorway from Hull to Huddersfield. Straight to the Vodafone shop to buy a mobile internet dongle. Much better value than the Greek one. We can have 3Gb per month for just £15.00. After buying Sainsburys out, we drove over to our new accommodation in the warden-assisted apartments that Pauline’s Mum occupies. From there we will look to get a flat to rent for a month or three while looking for somewhere to buy in the South.

Week 92

19th September, 2010

Beautiful swim today. The air and the water are hot/warm. The temperature was 34C/92F. We did an hour in the sea and then came back for a late lunch at 3.30 pm. We had garlic sauce and courgette crisps with biscuits and blue cheese. As we nibbled we watched Man. U. v Liverpool. It was a really good match which United didn’t manage to lose in the final minutes. Berbatov scored a hat trick. In UK he is called Ber_ber_toff but in Greece he is known as Ber_BAH_toff.


After this there were two more games to choose from: Wigan 0 v Man City 2 or Chelsea 4 v Blackpool 0. I watched the former but they were both poor.

We ate and drank so much for lunch that we didn’t want an evening meal. We just sat outside with a mug of tea and watched the sun go down over the harbour.


We leave the island two weeks today.

20th September, 2010

Or there again, maybe we won’t. The Greeks have taken the one piece of industrial action that can really hinder us. They are blocking the road we go on between Piraeus & Patras to get our ferry to Italy. The Greek government have been instructed to break monopoly industries and bring in competition. They are doing just that with the Pharmacies, The Railways, The Transport Lorries, etc. The Lorry owners have all paid €2,00,000 – €3,00,000 to belong to the monopoly industry. They face losing their investment when foreign firms come in free of charge. The are incensed and have parked their lorries to block the major roads as the lobby Parliament. The Athens – Corinth – Patras highway is blocked. If we can’t get down it, we are stuck. I used to pray for rain but now I pray for an end to the lorry strike.

lorry_strike_1.jpg  lorry_strike_2.jpg

The sea and sun were at their perfect, September best today. We indulged it all at the beginning of our last two weeks before returning to the Land of Rain. (Perhaps)

21st September, 2010

For the first time in months we went into old Sifnos – Apollonia –  for a change. I was struck by the stark contrast between our house and those that first attracted us as tourists.

old_sif_1.jpg  old_sif_2.jpg  old_sif_3.jpg

and then I suddenly spotted modern Sifnos breaking in.


22nd September, 2010

I’m not a believer in miracles but one happened today. I went to the chaotic post office and a woman behind the counter handed me three letters that had arrived for me. I had applied for internet banking with the National Bank of Greece and they had sent me my password. I had a letter from a friend in Oldham and I had a postcard from someone called ‘Mike’.

mike_1.jpg  mike_2.jpg

I don’t know who this person is but they’ve got a bloody cheek sending me love! And what the hell has he sent me a picture of a church for?

23d September, 2010

A cloudy but warm day today. Last night I sent Ruth in Crete about six text messages on Skype and a couple from my phone about the state of the last One Day Test. It was just like Test Match Special. I sent more Texts in two hours than I have in two years. Today we broke Greek law and nearly brought the Fire Brigade down on us. We have been tidying the garden in readiness for leaving. As we have about four acres of garden, it takes some doing. As a result, we had a lot of rubbish and I decided to have a bonfire. I must admit, it did go up alarmingly quickly but Stavros later told us that we could have faced a huge fine because it is illegal to start a bonfire until the beginning of October – because of the tinder dry land.

24th September, 2010

We now pay a small Greek tax each year to signify we are house owners and members of the community. It only amounts to €120.00 between us but it makes us feel wanted. The President of the island has obviously heard we are paying tax because for the first time in the fifteen years since he was first elected, he actually went out of his way to wave to us as we drove through the seaside village of Platys Gialos. He has never acknowledged us in any way before and nor has any other island politician. Essentially, until now we were tourists. Remember, there should be no taxation without representation. Now we are paying tax we should be allowed a community vote. The community votes for the Presidency in two months. Maybe that’s why he waved!

Decided I would write to Mike.

25th September, 2010

Every morning at 8.00 am, I switch off the television news and switch on the internet. Through wireless speakers, we listen to Radio 4’s Today programme. It is our one connection with UK culture. Today was dominated by who would win the Labour Part leadership but sandwiched between the brothers Milliband was a short item about the big sporting event today. Not Man. City v Chelsea nor Liverpool v Sunderland but The Gordon Bennett Cup – a balloon race first started in 1906 which has been run 53 times somewhere in Europe since inception. This year it is in England and based in Bristol. If you want to attend, click on the picture below for the website:


It is a football afternoon with four games showing. I will watch Man. City v Chelsea and West Ham v Spurs. Also available is Arsenal W. Brom and Liverpool v Sunderland. I’ve just sent a text message to Ruth on Crete alerting her to Bolton v Man U. on Greek TV tomorrow afternoon. Hope she can catch it.

Week 91

12th September, 2010

Just three weeks left on the island this year. We bought our ferry ticket to Piraeus this morning €137.00 one way for two adults plus a car. Then the most wonderful thing happened. It rained. It was our first rain for six months. The heavens absolutely opened and it poured for an hour. Within twenty minutes of it stopping, the hot sun had completely dried the patio and we were sitting outside in an atmosphere perfumed with herbs – oregano, thyme and rosemary.


13th September, 2010

Today is ‘Back-to-School Day’ right across Greece. There is nothing regional about education here. It is centrally directed and intimately interwoven with Church & State. The curriculum is centralised and every school should be teaching the same thing at the same time on the same day right across the Mainland and the islands. Today all schools open for about an hour. Priests, Politicians and Teachers attended. After that, they are told who their class teacher will be for the year and will be given a clear plastic bag containing all their exercise books. Then they go home for the rest of the day and lessons start on Tuesday.

Pauline & I couldn’t resist first day celebrations and followed Stavros with his three children – Nikos, aged 13, Markos, aged 10 and Ellie, aged 6 – as they attended the First Day speeches. It took place in the school yard. On the platform were four Greek Orthodox priests, the island’s President, leaders of PASOK and NEA DEMOKRATIA, the Headteacher of the Secondary School and the Head of the Primary School.

Everybody, including the teachers, dressed as if they had just come of the beach. The idea of a uniform is a non-starter although Nikos chose to wear the national costume coat for the special occasion.

school_1.jpg  school_2.jpg

school_3.jpg  school_4.jpg

14th September, 2010

Wonderful rain storm with thunder. We got up at 3.30 am to watch it. I wanted to dance naked on the patio but Pauline wouldn’t let me. She said I would look gross and would offend the goats. This morning, after breakfast of Assam tea, homemade bread toasted with cherry jam, we decided to drive across the island to see what effects the rain had brought. As we drove two hundred metres from our house, up over the first incline, near Apostolis farm, the road was covered with partridges adult and young. The young ones didn’t want to move. Later, when we got back, we looked them up on the internet. They were red legged partridges delighting in the puddles. I bet they taste nice.


Driving on we found a huge herd of goats blocking the road. They were desperate for all the fresh vegetation that springs up with the first taste of water since February.

goats_1.jpg  goats_2.jpg

There is a bulb, the size of a large hyacinth which throws up a large, white stick flower all over the island – a bit like liatris. This is cultivated liatris.


This is the wild, Sifnos plant.

plant_1.jpg plant_2.jpg  plant_3.jpg

Driving on over the highest point in the centre of the island, we see all the neighbouring islands in the clearer air. This is Serifos:


and this is Folegandros:


15th September, 2010

A work day today. Pauline was using the annual supply we get from our window and door manufacturers, Sylor. They give us a pack containing a bottle of detergent and a bottle of oil. To maintain our ten year warranty, we clean and all the windows and doors each year. While Pauline is doing that, I clear the garden. Eventually, I will lime it before we leave so that the winter rains can wash the lime into the soil in readiness for next year.

16th September, 2010

I was using wonderful, ratcheted loppers that I found in the local hardware store. There is an invasive and prickly bush which spreads quickly across the land here. It looks and feels a bit like hawthorn. I bought the loppers especially to cut it back. I was happily hacking away on the hillside behind the house; the sun was hot – reaching low 30Cs/90Fs – at 11.00am and I had my big, floppy  hat on and thick, gardening gloves. One minute I was manfully slashing and burning and the next minute I was flat on my back with my head down a hole. Every time I tried to turn a push myself up, the further my arms and head went down the hole. I felt like a beetle, flipped on its back and unable to escape. After a few minutes of hollering, my little helper appeared and I was pulled out of the hole and comforted with coffee and biscuits which made the whole experience worthwhile although, being a warfarin-user, there is a worry about internal bleeding. I easily cover my body with huge, purple bruise marks and cuts refuse to stop. On this occasion, only my pride is bruised.

In the afternoon, we had a wonderful swim. We still go every day for an hour. The water temperature is a little cooler – it has an edge to it – but it is easy to get in and so crystal clear. We do our swim and then straight back to the house for lunch which tends to be ham and rocket sandwiches. The bread is homemade. The rocket is from the garden and the ham is from the windmill supermarket.

18th September, 2010

Saturday brings shopping, swimming and football. The temperature today was 33C/92F but felt hotter. The sea was gorgeous and warm. We had a wonderful swim and I didn’t want to get out but Pauline was going (more) wrinkly and the first football match was about to start. Today the matches available were:

Stoke 1 v West Ham 1 – quite a good game, I thought
Everton 0 v Newcastle 1 – a fantastic game & I really enjoyed it
Spurs 3 v Wolves 1 – on at the same time as above
Sunderland 1 v Arsenal 1 – wonderful


Salmon en Croute for dinner this evening with a bottle of claret – one of my last fifteen bottles. I have managed them well because we only have fourteen nights left on the island. Pauline capped the day today by falling through the bottom of a third canvas sun chair. We bought them from B&Q fifteen years ago so I can’t complain but Pauline can. Not only has she felt a bit embarrassed but she badly bruised her back on one and scraped the backs of her legs on another. Fortunately, this time she only made me laugh.


Week 90

5th September, 2010

The Sifnos school yard is being swept; the windows are being opened to air the building. The Sifnos Secondary School is preparing for opening in one week. After a three and a half week holiday, they should be.


6th September, 2010

When we drive past the school yard today on our way to the supermarket, the teachers are sitting on the wall outside in the sunshine being addressed by a guest speaker. This is staff training Sifnos-style. Oh, the stess! When we talk to our friends on the island who have Secondary-age children, they are excited because of a new development. A new (on-line) curriculum is being introduced in Greece this September. It is an expensive development because each pupil will need a notebook/laptop and the country can’t afford them. England can’t afford that. Greece’s answer is to release it in just twenty areas of the country. Sifnos has been selected. The one problem is that, although the kids know how to use the machinery, the staff don’t.

Pauline went to the Post Office but our parcel still hasn’t arrive.

7th September, 2010

A bit windy today. We didn’t go swimming. We are still waiting for our parcel from London. It was posted twelve days ago and should have arrived after four days – maybe five. The UK postal service say our parcel is in Greece. The Greek postal service is in chaos.

8th September, 2010

I don’t think I told you what the parcel was we were waiting for. One of our lifelines throughout the six months away is a tyre inflator for the car. You plug it into the cigarette lighter and the engine powers the inflator. We have needed it three times in the past six months. It makes the difference between sitting around for hours waiting for assistance and spending five minutes sorting out your own problems and driving to a garage. In many remote spots on Sifnos, it could mean not waiting half a day for someone who doesn’t speak English. The other day, ours fell apart and we couldn’t repair it. Nothing was available on the island. We turned to the web and Argos. We found a upgrade for £40.00. Pauline’s niece in London bought it and forwarded it by Parcel Force.


9th September, 2010

Wonderfully warm and calm day today. We only have just over three weeks left so job completion is getting a bit more important. Mundane jobs like applying teak oil to the patio furniture, clearing the vegetable patch, giving the windows and doors their once-a-year treatment. Each year we go to the Woodman’s works where we meet Kostas, who speaks not a word of English, and his wife, Maria, who speaks English fluently. They give us – free of charge – a package containing a bottle of detergent and a bottle of oil. The two will do one treatment of all the woodwork and maintain our ten year warranty.

Had my INR (anti-coagulant) test today. The result was near perfect 2.3 so I phone Huddersfield Royal Infirmary with the good news. John, the doctor in the Path. Lab., says I don’t need another for five weeks so this time it will be on the NHS and free.

Swimming was fantastic today. The water was warm and crystal clear. The surface was like sheet glass. There was a handful of people on the beach. If it could only stay like this.

10th September, 2010

Cleaning the house this morning. Pauline got us up early. My job is change a light bulb, sweep and mop the patio and NOT use the family bathroom toilet after it has been cleaned. Why? Professor Ken Toyne and his wife, Jennifer are coming for coffee and it has to be spruce. I am walking round wearing a hang-dog, beaten expression to emphasise my subjegation. However, it is a beautiful day. 33C/91F is forecast. We will be swimmming this afternoon.

11th September, 2010

On Thursday, we went down to see Apostolis to buy some meat. We wanted beef. There was a bit of shuffling and then Apostolis’ wife and Stavros’ sister, Moshka phoned up to the farm a couple of kilometres away and Apostolis came haring down the mountain on his moped. Arriving at the shop breathless, Moshka said we wanted beef. It’s finished, he said. More in two days. He returned to his farm.

That night, as we sat drinking coffee on our patio, Apostolis open-topped lorry came back down the mountain. He tooted as he passed us with one huge, dead cow in the back. It was a magnificent and huge, brown and white beast lying on its side, distinctly DEAD. We watched the lorry slowly trundle into the valley and thread its way through the narrow tracks to Apostolis’ ‘slaughter building’. Our coffee ran cold as we contemplated the awful fact that our request had resulted in that death.

Today, with all such thoughts dismissed, we went in and bought a couple of kilos of magnificent, dark red beef. Slow cooking with onions, carrots and a litre of red wine, we will eat it with jacket potatoes. Sorry, Jane BG! Sorry brown cow!


Week 89

29th August, 2010

In any other year we would have been travelling back across Europe ready for a start back to work on Monday. As it is, Monday is a Bank Holiday in UK and, because our old school becomes an Academy this term, the school holidays have been extended until September 14th. Typical!

30th August, 2010

We were wandering out into the sea for our daily swim when we got a call, Ey Up Lad. I knew immediately that it was Stelios. It was the same greeting he used when we first met twenty years ago in Apollonia square. Then he was a young lad of 25 and I was a mere sprog of 39. Pauline and I were sitting at Lakis Kafenion, drinking coffee and watching the world go by. Stelios (No not that Stelios of Easyjet fame.) came by unfurling a roll of plastic pipe across my feet and on to the local restaurant which had lost its water supply. Stelios was the first Yorkshire Greek that I had met.

It turns out that after a spell on the ferries, Stelios, who was born and had family in Sifnos, landed in UK and met a girl and got married. Eventually, Stelios opened a Mediterranean restaurant in Leeds doing Greek/Italian food and was very successful. He and his wife had two lovely daughters and have a house in West Ardsley. You can take Greece out of the boy but not the boy out of Greece. Stelios came back to Sifnos and built a house with ‘Rooms’ attached and now spends the Summer here and the Winter in West Ardsley. It was their last swim of the Summer and were leaving today for Athens, flying back to UK tomorrow so the girls could get to school on Wednesday.

31st August, 2010

One of the great successes and leaps forward this year has been establish mobile broadband in the Greek house. It is not brilliant and one has to be patient at times but we can do our business. We bought an Cosmotedongle for our laptop. It is 3G mobile, of course, and that is not perfect on a Greek island. Particularly, we found that when all the tourists arrived with their 3G mobiles, the bandwidth was just completely consumed. Although we had plenty of connection signals, our pages loaded as if they were being filtered through concrete. Now the tourists have left, we have a reasonable service again.

One compromise I have had to make is moving out of the study because the signal is almost non-existent there. We have put a desk in the lounge. The desktop computer is still in the study but the laptop is in the lounge and attached to it is the wireless distributor which feeds the wireless speakers so we can listen to the Today programme from Radio 4. As I type, I look out over the valley to the mountain. This morning, it is really beautiful.


1st September, 2010


In 2002, we started to pay for our Greek house build by purchasing the land. Over the next four years we spent €320,00.00. At the time we were sending over money in wadges of £20,000.00 to Stavros. At the exchange rate at the time, the value of these euros was £220,000.00. Today, the value of those euros is £266,000.00. We recently had it valued at £350,000.00 – £400,000.00. Even in these difficult times it is possible to make money out of property – as long as Greece doesn’t leave or get thrown out of the Eurozone.

2nd September, 2010

As I think I have written before, electricity supply is the carrot with which those building houses are persuaded to pay tax on it. Until the receipts for purchase of materials and labour are submitted and successfully scrutinised and signed off by the tax authorities in Milos, the house owner is not given full electricity supply. For building power is needed and provided but not at full strength. After all tax payments have been received – proved by the tax receipts – the supply is upgraded to full power. Our house was completed six years ago. collation of all the paperwork took another two years by the accountant. The paperwork has been sitting in Milos for four years waiting for scrutiny and stamp of approval. We are still using building-strength power. It isn’t a major problem to us. We don’t have to compromise our lifestyle and it is a great deal cheaper but it is a symbol of Greek bureaucracy.


Today we went to the DEH office in Apollonia. The man behind the desk could speak a word of English so we took our friend, Rania, with us to translate. He basically confirmed for us that we had been using electricity completely illegally for six years be he understood that the officials in Milos were rushed off their feet and it might be another six years until we had our paperwork stamped. Below is the view from the electricity office:


3rd September, 2010

For some reason, there is no longer a postal delivery on Sifnos. For years a man has ridden round the island on a motorcycle with a huge leather bag slung across his chest filled with mail. No longer. Everyone has to go to the Post Office and look through a box of mail for their own post. If it is left there too long, it is sent back. This has resulted in many trips to the Post Office and long queues at the counter. We are waiting for a parcel from London and have gone up each of the last three days. We are going again today.

Throughout the summer, our island is like our little world – or it was until satellite tv and the internet. Even so, the islanders never talk about any other island than their own and if we refer to one, the reply as if we are talking about some remote region of the Amazon. To reinforce this, you can never see another island from Sifnos. Daily, ferries come from other islands and go to other islands but it takes hours to get there. This seems to emphasise and exaggerate the distance between them. Suddenly, in September, the heat haze goes and islands emerge into the crisp, blue sky and they are incredibly close. This is Kimolos. It looks like you could walk there in half an hour. It actually takes two and a half hours by boat and is a beautiful island. Pauline & I went there a few years ago. Almost nobody from Sifnos will ever set foot on Kimolos. They just don’t see the point.


Usually, we drive 12,000 miles a year. We have averaged that for nearly thirty years. It is five months since we got in our car and drove to Hull docks, drove all the way across Europe, across the Pelopponese and then to the shops, etc on our island and in those five months we have clocked up exactly 2,000 miles. Next month, when we drive home, we will arrive in Huddersfield with just over 3,000 miles on the clock since we left in April – exactly half our normal total. The moral is: if you want to cut down the mileage on your car, drive to Greece and back.