17th April, 2011
Woke up to rain in Sifnos this morning. Still tired after the journey. Watched some good football on TV. Went out to eat at Simos restaurant. Went to bed very early.
18th April, 2011
Got up early, feeling so much more rested. Went up to the Post Office to find our 5 boxes containing 100 kilos of ‘stuff’ had arrived. Carried it back down to the house and spent the morning unpacking everything. Went out for lunch at 2.00 pm to Myropi restaurant. Lovely lunch and wine. Drove home and fell asleep. Later found that Sifnos had installed an island wide internet connection ‘free’ and we are just on the usable edge of it. It will probably be stretched to the limits when the tourists arrive but, for now, it is good. Feeling sorry for Ruth after Bolton’s game.
19th April, 2011
Up early to a freezing cold morning. Had to turn the underflooor heating up. Lots to do today. After breakfast of tea, toast and jam, we are off to the medical testing centre to have my Anti-coag. test. Then we are going to the mobile phone shop to cancel my dongle contract because Sifnos seems to be providing broadband free. Then, on to the ‘Garden Centre’ for growbags and to see if they have pepper, melon and tomato plants.
20th April, 2011
Bitterly cold, wet and with gale force winds. Our Underfloor heating has been on since we arrived. All day and all night. The only decision has been whether to turn it up from constant 21C / 70F to 24C / 76F or back down again depending on the time of day. It is amusing to read that UK is basking in a barbecue Summer in April and that the beaches are so busy. Here, we are wondering if people will arrive for Easter celebrations because the strong winds are threatening boat sailings. Each morning starts with toast and tea at around 7.30 am, the BBC News, the Greek News and opening up the Kindle to find that The daily Telegraph has been delivered. It has revolutionised life already. I don’t have to wait until the 10.30 am boat has come in – if it does. I don’t have to wait for the van to roll off the boat and up to the papershop. I don’t have to wait until all the Greek papers have been unpacked, checked and counted and put out on to the shelves. Particularly, I don’t have to buy a day-late newspaper. I don’t even have to pay nearly £3.00 for it. Now, I get today’s newspaper at 8.00 am (Greek Time) / 6.00 am (UK Time) and it cost me £10.00 per month for newspapers that would normally cost £92.00.
Watched Arsenal – Spurs match tonight. It was a classic. I absolutely loved it and, to add to the pleasure, Arsenal only got one point. Surely United can’t lose the title now.
21st April, 2011
It is still very cold and windy but, at least, it is drier. The Greeks regret this because we are looking at the last rains until October now. After morning routines have been gone through, we get a visit from Margharita – Stavros’ Mother – who has come up to the house with a bowl of freshly cooked Gigantis or big bean soup. She once cooked it for me and I over expressed my appreciation of the dish. Now, every time we return to the island, we regularly get a dish of Gigantis.
After Margharita has gone, we drive up to the supermarket which will be closed for three days over Easter and we have to make sure we have enough food. We buy a fresh chicken for tonight (2 kilos – 5.00), Cyprus potatoes and lots of vegetables. We go to the ‘Garden Centre’ to buy a plant fot Margharita for Easter. We get a hydrangea and some plants for us – a couple of large Pelargoniums, some seedling red peppers, courgettes and aubergines. I will grow some from seed but I would like to have a few producing early. We drive back down to Kamares to visit Apostolis & Moshca for lamb. We buy effectively a lamb at 7.50 per kilo. We buy about 5.5 kilos in two legs and two shoulders.We will have roast lamb with onions, garlic and the rosemary and thyme growing round the house. The cold lamb will be used to make filo pastry parcels.The first lamb joint will be for tomorrow. Today we have half a chicken still to eat. I cooked it with lemons from our trees. We must have about 50 lemons on the trees this Spring. Tempting though it is to pick them, they remain perfect on the trees for a long time so we pick them when we need them. Pauline made a lemon tart yesterday to eat with whipped cream. It only took three lemons and it was absolutely delicious. After dinner tonight, we watched a film. We have a DVD/VHS player hooked up to our TV and we have an entire library of unwatched films – recorded from TV or bought in UK – which we rarely watch. Tonight Pauline chose ‘In Her Shoes’ featuring Cameron Diaz & Shirley Maclaine. You might call it a girl’s film but I enjoyed it. It centred around a dysfunctional family so I felt I understood its terms of reference.
22nd April, 2011
Today is bright and breezy and about 70F which feels cool here. We have had an in-day. Pauline has made bread. I have been taking some photos for the Blog and the Website. Everywhere is green and carpeted with wild flowers. There has been so much rain in Greece this winter, everything has grown a lot – apart from the economy.
Greek TV is dominated by Easter or Pascha as they call it here. Mainly it is about the ‘Exodus’ or ‘leaving Athens’ for one’s island home to celebrate with family. The UK press is dominated by petrol prices for people going out on day trips. The Greek press has just the same preoccupation for those driving across Greece and getting on Ferries.The price of petrol on the island is about 1.80 or £1.58 per litre. When we left Woking, we were paying £1.31. The TV news is dominated by pictures of petrol stations, people queuing in cars on roads to get through the tolls, cars queuing at Piraeus to get on ferries and then by meat prices in the markets of Athens. Everybody has to spit roast a lamb or goat for Easter. The price has gone up again just as their wages are going down. There is huge unemployment in Greece now and they are really hurting.
23rd April, 2011
Greece is now officially closed. The last boats have left Piraeus. They will arrive at the island by 2.00 pm and there will be no more movement until Tuesday. The shops on the island close at 2.00 pm and will not re-open until Tuesday. Greek television will show church services and wall to wall Hollywood biblical blockbusters that will blaze away in the corner of every living room completely ignored by all concerned as they prepare to feast and forget the economy.We feel complete outsiders but not unhappy for that. This afternoon, I will watch three Premiership football matches starting with Man. Utd. – Everton. Rooooneeeyey!