Week 133

3rd July, 2011

The temperatures are rising. We may be on our way to the first heatwave of the season. This is the time when you wake up wet from sweat, fall into a refreshing shower but, before you manage to get dry, you need another shower. Long, cooling dips in the sea assuage the feeling temporarily but its effects are soon forgotten. Evenings on the terrace with cool drinks provide welcome interludes but sleeping in bed is fitful. The quilt has long since been stored in a cupboard until next April but now I can’t even bear a top sheet over me.

At least the evening skies at this time are magical:


4th July, 2011

It was too hot to work today. We did a bit of shopping, had an extra long swim and relaxed. You can see why Greeks come across as lazy. They want to work but it’s just too hot!

Took some more Posterity Pictures of Pauline:

p1.jpg  p2.jpg

5th July, 2011

For weeks I have been suffering with a trapped sciatic nerve which I have suffered from for an hour or so in the morning almost immediately after I get up. The pain starts at the base of my spine which feels like I’ve been hit in the back by a sledge hammer, travels as a sharp pain through my right buttock and goes down to the area behind my right knee, leaving my right leg numb. Sometimes the pain is so acute that it is impossible to live with. It is screamingly painful. I can’t sit, stand or lie. I can’t think, read, eat or drink. I feel sick and start to sweat. I try not to take painkillers but I’ve had to today. It has been so excruciating. It will stop at some time this morning (if it fits the pattern) but I can’t wait.

By 3.0o pm the pain is like a nagging toothache in my right leg. We go down for a long swim and by the time we set off home, the pain has gone completely. A pain free evening is followed by an experiment. I think the problem is caused by my sleeping position so I decide to try to sleep on my back. I have a very fitful night, regularly waking up and reisting the urge to turn on my side.

6th July, 2011

Just after 7.00 am, I get out of bed. There is no pain. I clean my teeth, go into the lounge and sit down for a cup of tea and I am immediately hit by excruciating pain. It is unbearable. I take two Paracetamol. For one and a half hours, I walk the house trying to get relief. I’ve tried sitting down on every different chair in the house without success. Even the table has proved impossible. By 9.00 am, exhausted and sweating with the pain, I go and lie down on the bed. It is the only way to relieve the pain – stretching out. I take two more Paracetamol. I fall asleep for two hours.

When I wake, the pain is still there but controlled enough to be able to sit in the car and drive down to the beach. We have a good swim but this time it doesn’t remove the pain. I take two more Paracetamol. I have now had six and the problem with that is that it impacts on the effects of the Warfarin I am taking. I phone the Path. Lab. at Huddersfield Royal and ask advice. I’m told to go for an earlier Anti-Coag. test if it continues.

7th July, 2011

Woke up in agony but found a sitting position that was tolerable. My back relaxed and, over a two hour period, I was able to get up and move around. I walked round the house shouting to Pauline, “Look, I’m doing normal things. Look I’m sitting at the computer.” Eventually, I was able to go out and water the vegetables. My green beans are almost ready to pick as are the salad onions. I have beautiful, glossy purple aubergines forming. I can’t believe that something I find so hard to eat could look so beautiful. The flowers are beautiful but the fruits are gorgeous.


Pauline had a phone call with Phyllis this evening and told her about my trapped sciatic nerve. Of course, Phyllis, being as old as she is, has had experience of most afflictions from flu to scrofula so she had suffered from sciatica. One of the solutions she found successful was to sleep with a pillow between her legs to keep the posture right. I plan to try it.

8th July, 2011

Tried the pillow test and have got up feeling much better today. I have twinges but have been able to go out and garden this morning. We worked for two hours but it is so hot – about 32C/90F – that it was difficult to go on and Pauline ended up red as a beetroot. After a shower, we are going up to see the woodman and then on to a fishing village, called Vathi, for lunch.


Vathy was delightful. We went to Ockeanida (The Wave) and sat by the shore as the sea gently lapped within feet of our feet. We first went there twenty five years ago and the girl who came to serve us was the daughter of the owner. She told us that she was nineteen and that she was home from College in Athens where she is doing a ‘Tourism’ course. Most 18+ teenagers do a ‘Tourism’ course in Athens for two or three years after Senior School. It is something of a Right of Passage. They then come back to their homes on islands where they serve their apprenticeship in the restaurant kitchen or the rooms, the hotel, the car hire business, etc. until it is their turn to take over. What is interesting is that nothing much changes as a result of these courses. What they do is occupy the children of the Greek middle classes at a time when youth unemployment is standing at more than 40%.

I’ve lost a stone and a half because we have not been eating a lot recently and, although we ordered a fairly understated Greek meal, we struggled to eat it:

  • RevithiaKeftedes – Chickpea Balls
  • Kotopoulo Kroketts – Chicken Croquettes
  • Skordalia – Garlic Sauce
  • Kaneli Fournos – Roast Rabbit in tomato sauce
  • Psomi – Bread
  • Kilo Krassi Aspro – Litre White Wine

The whole thing came to just £30.00. I would have paid that for the view alone.

9th July, 2011

The weekend and beyond is forecast to become hot – near heatwave but not quite – at 35C/95F. This little spell could go on until Wednesday or Thursday next week. It may persuade some Athenians that it is worth paying the extortionate ferry prices to leave the city and holiday on a cooler island.

The cat family who have adopted us have been giving us lots of enjoyment recently. The kittens must be two months old or more now and are becoming quite brave. They have graduated from stalking the flapping cushion ties on our outdoor dining chairs to considering taking on the guinea fowl that roam around the area. More worryingly, it looks like Mother and Father are already moving on from just kissing and some loud squawking has been heard from under the patio furniture. Perhaps we are feeding them too well.


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