Week 145

25th September, 2011

As a wounded soldier, I had to take it easy. My ear – big in the first place – has swollen considerably and is miserably uncomfortable. Pauline has cleaned the splits and dressed them with antiseptic cream. I have been holding an ice pack on my ear until I couldn’t feel my face in an attempt to get the swelling down. It was stopping my hearing.  We were supposed to be going swimming but I have been banned in case I get an infection.

To add to my woes, there was just one, poor quality, Premier League match today – QPR v Aston Villa and it ended in a boring draw.

26th September, 2011

My ear is still swollen, throbbing and weeping a bit but we have to get on. We go up to the tile shop to pay for the waterproof treatment of our pergola roof. Six man hours plus the solutions comes to €500.00 which seems a bit steep but we are assured of a ten year warranty so we pay up.

We have coffee with Panos & Rania

27th September, 2011

Pauline & I are very similar in our reactions to things. As soon as we reach our final week, we are desperate to get on with it. We leave on Monday night, strikes permitting. We have done all the planning, bookings, etc.

  • Monday: Sifnos – Piraeus on F/B Adamas Korais leaving at 23.59 and arriving next day at 6.00  am.
  • Tuesday: Patras – Ancona on Anek Lines leaving at 17.00 and arriving next day at 12.30 pm. (Wine buying)
  • Wednesday: Ancona to Lake Como – a four and a half hour drive.
  • Thursday: Lake Como to Metz in France – a six hour drive.
  • Friday: Metz to Calais – a four and a half hour drive. (Wine buying) 6.00 pm crossing through Tunnel to UK.

We have made lists of all the jobs we must do before we leave and we are ticking them off as we get through them. Teachers to the last.

28th September, 2011

This morning it was blood test, shopping, frappe and sweet pie at the cafe and relaxing in the sunshine. Our friends and restaurant owners, Panos & Rania along with their daughter, Nefelli and Anna, their chef, came round for coffee this afternoon.

My INR is all over the place again. I had to phone Huddersfield R.I. and they advised a new warfarin dosage. Tonight I am switching between Arsenal and Chelsea. The Chelsea match looks the best. Goodness knows what Man. U. were up to last night.

29th September, 2011

Can you believe that tomorrrow is the last day of September and we leave our Greek home in four days. Actually, the weather across northern Europe is lovely at the moment, dry and sunny, and would be ideal for our drive. It seems to have come a week early for us. It can’t possibly last. We really don’t want to be driving through heavy rain in Italy and France or snow in Switzerland.

We have food for three meals in the fridge/freezer and four days to eat. We decided to go out to eat. We went to Meropi restaurant. It is one of the traditional tavernas in the harbour which we first ate in when we came here in 1984/5. Meropi is an ancient Greek name – a girl’s name. In our naivety, we thought it was owned by Mr & Mrs Meropi when we first frequented it. We were served by a girl – daughter of the owner – who wasn’t even born when we first went to the restaurant. She is Katerina and she is 25 years old. She told us that she is getting married in November and she invited us to the wedding. Unfortunately, we won’t be there. We sat by the sea and ate chick pea balls with garlic sauce and then beef in red sauce (tomato) with potatoes. Red wine made us even more relaxed.

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As we walked back to our car, we met Christos, the cafe owner, who told us he had just come back from Santorini where he and his wife and new baby had spent a week’s holiday. He didn’t like it. The island was ‘full’ of Japanese tourists with cameras. He wants Greece to leave the euro and return to the drachma. We disagreed on that. We went on past the ‘supermarket’ where we saw Giorgaikis (Little George) who is 27 years old and 6′ 4″ tall. His brother, Nikos, is on crutches. He was hunting on the mountain and fell and broke his ankle quite badly. We drove home for coffee and to sleep off the food and wine.

This evening. our feral cats who have been fairly scared of most human contact throughout the period we have been feeding them became incredibly affectionate. We are already feeling terrible that we are going to leave them to fend for themselves in the next few days. We don’t know if it is the cooler nights sleeping outside or the increased confidence that they have in us or the animal sixth sense that something is changing and we are going but today, Little Ginge & Little Tabs, followed Pauline around everywhere she went outside – opening the shutters, collecting the washing, etc. They even started rubbing her legs and kissing her foot when she fed them and she managed to stroke Tabs’ back as he ate although Ginge still shied away.

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Little Tabs really does take after his adopted father. He is as fat as a house while Little Ginge is still more delicate. Even after they had been fed this evening, Little Ginge sat on the windowsill and continued to cry. We went out and told her she was a cat and that it was her tradition to go off catting at night time but she took a lot of persuading.

30th September, 2011

This morning Pauline is picking olives for bottling and taking back to England. Then we are going to the accountant to ask about the lost legal papers on our house. First we will call in at the Post Office to ask them to save all our mail until April when we return.

When we get to the Accountant’s office, we are told that the papers have been found in the Tax Office in Athens and are on their way back to Sifnos. Suddenly, all worries are waved away. It is a typically Greek resolution to a problem that has concerned us for two or three weeks but which Greeks around counselled us not to worry about because everything sorts itself out in time. And it has!

My ear is a lot better today but my arm has come out in an angry bruise from the fall.

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We leave the island at midnight on Monday and just manage to get our ferry before the Seamen’s union goes on strike. The air traffic controllers have already arranged theirs and the buses, trains and taxi drivers are in the midddle of theirs. To add to our luck, the five day weather forecast says our journey across Europe will be warm and dry.

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1st October, 2011

I can’t believe the days are flying by so fast. I thought retirement would slow them down. Anyway, Happy October to you all.

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It feels like the end of term. All we have to do is tidy our offices, make a few speeches of gratitude for all the support colleagues have given us over the past few months and then head off on our merry way only to return after a short while to start all over again. In those days, of course, all our personal organisation was crammed in to spare, non-professional minutes. Now, we have lots of time and almost everything is done well in advance. Today I will have my hair cut outside on the terrace. The falling hair will drift away in the breeze and remain on my land while we are away. Pauline is ironing and packing the last clothes while I will be watching the football. We are planning how to eat the remaining food over the final three days and drink the last bottles of wine. We have just enough food for the cats and we’ll leave their Tuesday breakfast for when we’re gone. After that, they’ll have to hunt out their food.