Week 141

28th August, 2011

We have 34 days left on the island. At night time now there is a slight Autumnal feel. The temperature goes down to 22C/70F which feels freezing.

Pressure cleaning the patio this morning. The pressure pipe burst. It is a Black & Decker I bought on the island. I use it for cleaning the car and the tiled areas around the outside of the house. This latter job takes four or five hours even with the machine. I am forced to take the rest of the morning off.

I don’t think I have ever felt sorry for Arsenal but I did today. United made them look a complete shambles.

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29th August, 2011

The trouble with island life is that most commodities have to come from the mainland which will take a long time and cost more money than it’s worth. We know before we set out this morning that a replacement pipe for the pressure washer will not be obtainainable until we are close to leaving. We go to the two DIY shops and the two electrical shops. They have only one pressure washer between them. We buy it for €70.00 because we need one and we’ll source the  broken part in UK in the winter. Then we’ll have two pressure washers. How exciting!

My stomach is a little upset today. I either ate too much olive oil or drank too much wine yesterday. I decide to do computer today. We are in the process of creating a contacts book. We have built up a network of trades people from plumbers and electricians to wall builders and tilers and we need to record them all.

30th August, 2011

Lovely day. Quiet, warm, still. The final, big batch of holiday makers left last night. The island is returning to normal. Of course, there will always be some tourists around and this, particularly, is a time for the ‘Wrinklies’ to come on holiday. Still, it will be much quieter and particularly on the roads.

31st August, 2011

Can you believe it is the end of August? Another beautiful day. Hot, still and quiet. The cats have had their breakfast – dried biscuits and skimmed milk – and are now playing with a ball on the patio. We have had our breakfast – Yorkshire Tea & toasted homemade bread and homemade marmalade – and will soon be out patio cleaning and window cleaning before swimming.

1st September, 2011

Once again, White Rabbit Day.

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We went out into an upper level of the garden (field) to clear over grown and dead grasses and weeds. We were using the electric brush cutter we bought in Athens in June. After twenty minutes of useful work, the cutter just refused to start. We check all the connections but, ultimately concluded that the internal motor was at fault. Once again, this immediately illustrates the dilemmas of island living. In England, we would take a nearly new machine back to the shop and either get a replacement or our money back. Here, it would cost us more than three times the value of the machine just to get to the shop and back. It would also take a couple of days. We thought we might look at it ourselves but soon gave up when we found the casing itself was sealed with some fifteen different sized screws. We will take it to the electrical shop and see if someone is prepared to take it on. Failing that, we will have to wait until next year and a new machine. The current one is a Nakayama XH1000 and is only sold in Greece as far as I can find.

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2nd September, 2011

Absolutely lovely day today. The whole family had breakfast and then cats stretched out under the dining furniture on the patio and slept for about six hours while we went out to see people. We took our brush cutter to the electrical shop and they will try to repair it. On to the Accountant who will know by Wednesday about our electricity supply. On to the Woodman who has to go to the island of Folegandros tomorrow but will start work at our house next Thursday. He will put lots of shelves up in the laundry, put a solid roof on the pergola and measure up to produce doors for the garage. The woodman, Kostas, is a lovely chap but it is impossible to go there without him getting out alcohol – today it was two types of wine – and homemade cheeses. At 11.30 am we were full and drunk but we fixed a date for the work.

By 2.00 pm we are on an almost empty beach and swimming in an empty sea. It is the most wonderful condition. The air temperature is 32C/90F. The sea temperature is 23C/70F. The water is sparkling and so clear I want to drink it. The sand is still a bit too hot to stand on for any length of time but we don’t stay on the beach. We walk on to the beach and straight in to the sea. We swim across the bay each way which takes just under an hour. We get straight out, walk to the car and drive up to the house, shower and then prepare a meal. Because of all the cheese & wine from the woodman, we weren’t very hungry.

3rd September, 2011

Something strange has happened with my weight loss. Our diet has drastically reduced over the past six months. This was not a conscious decision but conditioned by the weather. I weighed myself in July and found I had lost two stones in weight. I didn’t change my regime and lost another half stone or so. Since then – for the past month at least – I have not lost a single pound. Pauline has continued to lose weight.

The new growth on our lemon trees is producing gnarled and blighted leaves. I discussed this with the woodman yesterday and he said I need to spray them with something which I can buy from the local garden centre which is owned by his wife’s brother. I am off there today to nip this problem in the bud.

Stavros has four guinea fowl and they roam the rough areas of our land pecking for seeds but also performing the useful operation of irradicating the snakes. They are large, turkey-sized birds to look at although the don’t appear so in the supermarket. Today, when we got up, we were so proud to find our kittens stalking two guinea fowl. Little Ginge leapt at one from behind a bush but soon found herself being chased. Little Tabs had a go and managed to drive the birds down the bank and away. Both kittens strutted for quite a while until Pauline called breakfast.

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