Week 172

1st April, 2012


Happy April.

What a beautiful day! I thought it was supposed to be cold and dull. The weather knows best. It is warm and sunny.

We have two nights left in our English bed. Today, we liaised with next door neighbour – Vicky Wellington. Although we have been here for about four months, we have rarely seen her because she is constantly jetting off to sunny countries to meet friends and/or play golf. She is in her early to mid fifties and, we understood, a retired army medic. Today was our first serious chat and it turns out that she retired as a Colonel. Anyway, we think we should be able to rely on her to look after our property.

2nd April, 2012

Busy day to day. Far from cold and gloomy. It is warm and sunny. Packing bags. Off for lunch with Phyllis & Colin then the Post Office with 85Kg of parcels which will arrive on the island on Thursday. The cost for all that transportation – £180.00. It is such a good service.

Back at the flat, I phoned my great friend, Brian to find that he had moved house in the past month. He is really happy and I can’t wait to see him in October. Next job was to take a power reading from the Heat Exchanger. The results are quite unbelievable. I know we’ve had a warm winter but the total cost of all hot water for showers, baths, sinks, etc plus all central heating since we bought the flat a year ago – the total cost is £91.29. Since we moved in full time – months ago – it has cost us just £32.00 or less than £2.00 per week. You can’t say fairer than that.

Great goals for United tonight beating Blackburn 0 – 2.


3rd April, 2012

News this morning that Scotland has heavy snow and that it is moving down to the Pennines. I opened the blinds at 7.00 this morning to be blinded by strong sun from a clear, blue sky.

Packing the car this morning. Pauline is packing up the house. Light lunch and a rest before setting off for Ashford in Kent about an hour away. We will stay there tonight and get up early tomorrow. We will leave the hotel without breakfast around 6.00 am and drive on to the 6.50 am train arriving in Calais at 8.20 am. (30 mins + 1 hr.) We will be in Mulhouse, Alsace by 3.30 pm.I don’t know when I will be able to write my next entry. Goodbye cruel world!

Hello again. I haven’t quite gone. The car is completely packed. It is 11.30 am and I read on my iPad a minute ago that the Greek Seaman’s Union have called a two day strike for Tuesday and Wednesday next week. We will just miss it – travelling on Sunday to the island – but those travelling for Greek Easter will be furious.


4th April, 2012


Actually, it was 4.00 pm before we arrived and checked in to our hotel. We had had a lovely and uneventful journey of 535 miles. The weather was dry and sunny and the traffic light. The only thing of note was when we got to Colmar and went in to buy petrol. Our MasterCard was refused. Before we set off, as I always do, I phoned Mastercard before we left UK as I always do to tell them of our plans. What they didn’t tell us was that they had a Back Office security trigger set on their software. If you try to use the card 10 times in one day, they feeze it. I knew it wasn’t lack of credit. Our card is good for £10,000.00. We used our card to pay our hotel, for petrol 4 times, for coffee once and for tolls 4 times. I phoned and complained and they reset the counter. It is no good having the facility if it doesn’t do the job.

Now at our hotel, we are looking forward to a shower, bottle of wine and dinner. I hope to watch football on my laptop tonight.

5th April, 2012


Set off in rain with horrendous spray on the motorway through Switzerland. I was helped by the Gottard Tunnel (17 km), the Seelisberg Tunnel (9km)  and four or five shorter tunnels where it was dry. Low lying snow was still very obvious – much more so than last year – but as we descended rapidly into Italy and approached Milan, the sun came out and the temperature soared. We arrived at our hotel in Parma by 4.00 pm and celebrated with a bottle of wine and a Parma Ham salad.

6th April, 2012


Up at 6.00 am and a quick breakfast of ham and toast with strong coffee before setting off for Ancona. We got to the supermarket by 10.00 am in boiling, hot sun, filled our car with wine, olive oil and kilos of Parmesan cheese and then drove off to the check-in station. We boarded Superfast VI at 12.30 pm and checked in to our luxury cabin. Off to the restaurant for our first Greek Salad of the season accompanying grilled salmon steaks and chips all washed down with white wine. It’s a lovely way to celebrate your 61st birthday. Happy Birthday to me! Below are images snatched from my iPad of the beauties of Ancona port, the Superfast ferry, our cabin on board, Pauline on deck, the scene around Igoumenitsa:

ancport.jpg  sf6.jpg  cab1.jpg  cab2.jpg  cab3.jpg  pob1.jpg  pob2.jpg  ig.jpg

7th April, 2012

After a lovely night’s sailing and in which the ferry called at Igoumenitsa where it dropped most of its passengers, we woke up late – 8.00 am – to sunny skies and a complimentary breakfast of fresh orange juice, bacon & egg with toast followed by chocolate croissants and beautiful, fresh coffee. I downloaded the day’s copy of The Times on my iPad and spent the morning reading and doing the crossword. By 3.30 pm, were were going down to the almost empty garages and prepared to drive off.

We are now esconced in our room in The Patras Palace Hotel, watching BBC News and bringing my Blog and Website up to date. Tomorrow we leave at 7.30 am for Piraeus – a three hour drive – and our final ferry journey to Sifnos.

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