29th May, 2011
Although I am in deep mourning after last night, it cannot last for long. The long, hot days of Summer have begun. The weather here looks settled for some time to come. We will not now see rain until October. Every morning, for the next four months I will open the bedroom shutters at 7.30 am to clear blue skies, hot sun and the smell of thyme and oregano drifting on the air. Noticeably, the tourists began to arrive this weekend. Today, people are in the sea and sunbathing on the beach. We have set Wednesday – June 1st – for our start to swimming.
Those of you still working and, particularly, in white collar jobs will recognise very clearly the next observations. It is over two years since Pauline & I felt stress. Before that, we were permanently stressed. At the end of a school day, our heads were exhausted with stress. At the end of a school week, we would go to Pauline’s Mum’s flat and sit immobilised with the tiredness of stress. Particularly in the last few years as the school got harder and more uncomfortable to work in, we would go to her flat on a Friday evening and just slum, not talking. The tiredness of this type of stress is so different from physical tiredness. Working hard in the garden and feeling shattered at the end, muscles aching on a Saturday night was a delight compared with mental stress fatigue.
Today, stress-free for two years, we ate a delighful lunch of fish and salad washed down with chilled Italian white wine outside in the sunshine and, after coffee, took a drive up from our house over the mountain and right across the island, leaving the port of Kamares far behind.
30th May, 2011
It is a hot day and we spent the rest of it reading the Sunday paper, cleaning outside the house and chilling out. We were going to have a barbecue but couldn’t be bothered. The stress of these decisions!
31st May, 2011
Although I said I wouldn’t talk about it any more, the temperatures are ratcheting up each day. Today we are around 27C/80F. Pauline was making bread and then we had a barbecue both of which raised the temperature.
Talking about raised temperatures, the Greeks are still occupying the public squares in Athens (Syndagma), Thessaloniki and Patras after the examples of the ‘Arab Spring’ and the Spanish protests. They are infuriated that ‘their property’ is being sold off. It all sounds very 80s England.
1st June, 2011
Can you believe it? June already!
A glorious day. We went for our first swim. At first we thought the water was too cold but, within minutes, we didn’t want to get out. Fortunately, the temperature had decided it was swimming day and raised the temperature to 31C/90F. Swimming was absolutely delightful. We drove home the 650 metres from the beach to our house, showered and then shared crab & tuna salad with Italian white wine. We ate this under the pergola in wonderful warmth with a light, cooling breeze playing on our faces.
I don’t know if it was the swimming, the wine or the fresh air but I fell asleep in my chair after and woke up at 5.00 pm. We had a cup of tea and then walked up our land to inspect the peach trees which are doing remarkably well thanks to the recent rains. In the past couple of days, a cat which has just had babies seems to have adopted us. We can’t eat enough chicken to satisfy it. Pauline has been reduced to cutting down large yoghurt pots to fill with milk and water. We haven’t had a cat for years.
I’m not thinking of having a heart attack but I’ve given to worrying about what to do if I was. We have a Medical Centre staffed by very young doctors and it is about 6 kilometres away. In the event of a heart attack, I would have to be flown to Athens by helicopter which takes 20 minutes each way and then have to be driven to the hospital through Athens traffic. We have created an ‘In the Event of an Emergency’ sheet and it will be displayed in the study along with copies in our bags and the car.
2nd June, 2011
Gorgeously enjoyable day. Pauline is painting the balcony railings because that is what she enjoys doing. I’m watering plants, pricking out seedlings and sowing new ones because that is what I enjoy doing. We have now been officially adopted by an island cat which has just given birth to two little ones somewhere in our garden.
Only left our property to swim at 1.30 pm today. Water was wonderful today and we really enjoyed a good swim – only half way across the bay and back today. We’ll try the full thing tomorrow.
3rd June, 2011
Temperature reaches 33C/91F today. When we went to swim, the tide had turned and refreshed the water in the bay which meant it was rather colder to get in but, when we got going, the swimming was great and we managed right across the bay and back which is what we were doing throughout last year.
The Greek ‘Settlement’ has been announced which suggests the money will be there for the next 2-3 years. The problem is that the population are becoming increasingly strident in their opposition. Every day, 100 – 15,000 Greeks protest in Syndagma Square shouting “OKI” – NO – to the austerity measures and definitely “OKI” to the sell off of State Services – trains, ports, electricity, telephones, banks, etc.
4th June, 2011
We’ve woken up to a hot and sultry day. We have had almost no breeze all week. It was as if someone flicked the SUMMER switch last weekend. The weather changed to settled, hot and cloudless. The tourists started to arrive. Each day there are one or two on the beach when we go down to swim. Pauline has gone out early at the front of the house before the sun gets high enough to make painting impossible. I’m at the back of the house in the sun watering my courgettes. I know I have a raw deal but I suffer in silence.