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.
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.
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’.
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.