12th June, 2011
A quiet day I won’t bore you with. Newspaper delivered on time. Breakfast, gardening, a wonderful swim for nearly an hour. Salad for lunch outside with apple cake for ‘afters’ made by Pauline in no time at all. This wasn’t made for me. It was made for Stavros’ mother, Margarita, who appeared outside our house, pipping away in her car at about 11.30 am. When Pauline went down to see her, she had two dishes covered with foil. One contained Fasolia (bean soup) and the other contained Banzari y skordalia (beetroot with garlic sauce). To repay her kindness, Pauline quickly knocked up an apple upsidedown cake and took her some on the way to swimming.
The wine we had with salad sent me to sleep in the afternoon. To be honest, I would have fallen asleep without it. The pills I take for my blood pressure make me feel tired. I woke up to find Pauline had cleaned the windows and got her sewing machine out to turn up her trousers. Like her Mum, she must be shrinking. We had to have chicken for dinner in the evening to make sure there were scraps for the cats. I must say, they seem to love tarragon.
We have sixteen weeks left on the island.
13th June, 2011
A little cooler today – 25C/77F – and it felt quite chilly. It didn’t stop us going swimming though. We haven’t missed a day since June 1st. Another incentive came when I, unexpectedly, weighed myself in the middle of the morning and found I had lost one stone in weight over the past two months.
To those of you who have followed my nonsense over the past 129 weeks, you will be aware that I love to be forward-planned. Yesterday, I thought I would count how many weeks we had been on the island – 8 – and how many we had left this year – 16. I woke in the night thinking, I’ve only got sixteen weeks to book hotels for our return journey. This afternoon, I started to look for a couple of hotels for the return journey. I found one just outside Lake Como:
The next hotel will be in the Champagne region of France so I’m going to spend time and do that one at the weekend. We are off to Athens for a shopping trip tomorrow. We will return on Thursday evening after Pauline’s hair appointment.
14th June, 2011
A very hot day. We are up early and, after breakfast, I spend two hours watering all the plants so that they can get through nearly three days without me. At 1.30 pm, we drive down to the port, park our car and walk to the already docking Speedrunner.
By 5.30 pm, we were off the boat and spilling in to the turmoil of Piraeus. We took a taxi to Athens. We had a brilliant, Romanian, woman driver who got us there quickly and cheaply. We bought a carton of milk from the periptero near by and Pauline made a cup of tea.
Peripteros are open all day long and sell most everyday needs from cigarettes & postcards to bottled water and chewing gum.
Later we went out to eat at a roadside taverna in the backstreets. Five or six tables scattered across the pavement next to an open air car park, a building renovation and a cross roads is not somewhere most visitors to Athens would choose but after twenty five years, we know it is a top restaurant. As we are sitting there eating Kolokithokeftethes (courgette balls with mint and oregano), tstasiki (yoghurt, garlic & mint), bakalaros y skordalia (salt cod with garlic sauce), cars and bikes screech past, tourist arrive with guide books in hand – Yes, this is the restaurant – and Greeks walk home from work. I wish I had carried my camera to show you. We walked home via our favourite chocolatiers and bought a selection for the evening.
15th June, 2011
We got up at 7.00 am and, after a shower and cup of tea, went down to the most huge buffet breakfast of fresh orange juice and a pot of coffee, bacon, sausage and scambled eggs, fresh fruit and yoghurt and croissants & jam. This was the last normal act of the day.
We went down to the Hotel Lobby and asked them get us a taxi to Piraeus Street – the Leroy Merlin store (a French/Greek B&Q). The taxi driver said he could get us there but he wasn’t sure we could get back to our hotel because the protesters would be encircling Syndagma where our hotel is because they were trying to prevent MPs getting to Parliament to pass the austerity budget. In the event, he was nearly right.
At Leroy Merlin, we bought a garden strimmer, a garden furniture set of coffee table, two chairs, a two seat bench, some plant food and other small items which will be delivered in the next few days.
We tried to buy a new fridge freezer from Kotsovolos (owned by Dixons) but the model we really wanted with an iced drinks dispenser was out of stock so we decided to wait. We went outside and hailed a cab. The driver told us he couldn’t take us to our hotel because the rioters/police had closed the roads. He took us to the nearest Metro where we spent an hour or two fighting with hundreds of others trying to get on the tube to Monastiraki station from where we walked up Ermou Street to our Hotel. As we got closer to Syndagma we could smell and then see the smoke from the Finance Ministry which had been set alight. Fighting was openly going on between protestors and police. Protestors (probably professional anarchists) had come equipped with crow bars to lever up the centuries old paving stones to smash into pieces big enough to hurl at the police. As we drank cool white wine and watched from our balcony, hot and harassed police ducked bricks and fists hour upon hour in the name of democracy.
16th June, 2011
All is unravelling here. Papandreou is attempting to form a new cabinet and to carry on in Government. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have the support of the people and this will prove fatal.
Meanwhile to the important things of life. We have had another huge breakfast and Pauline has gone off to have her hair cut. I am relaxing with the Greek news and my Blog. At 12,00 pm we will check out and get a taxi down to Piraeus where we will get on Zante Ferries Korais bound fo home (sorry, Sifnos).
Unfortunately, being a ferry, The Korais will take five and a half hours and we will arrive on Sifnos just after 8.00 pm but that doesn’t matter.
17th June, 2011
Actually, the journey was delightful. I read the newspaper and kept an eye on the televisions scattered around the walls of the ship’s lounge. The Greek government was unravelling in front of our very eyes and Papandreou, having offered to resign, decided he was essential but he would sacrifice his cabinet – particularly, Papacontantinou, the Finance Minister – and would build a new one immediately. Unfortunately, the preferred candidate, the former Deputy of the European Bank, declined to take part so Papandreou appointed his rival, Evangelos Venizelos, who has no financial experience. This looks disastrous but France and Germany are so desperate for the Euro region not to unravel that they can make anything work.
We have felt tired all day today. We put it down to the travelling over the previous three days. The temperature is 27C/81F. The sea was pleasant and we had a good swim. I picked a handful of courgettes and of radishes which we had with our salad. I watered everything and then collapsed like an old man to rest.