Week 179

20th May, 2012

It was a warm and sunny day. We pottered around in the morning and then decided to go to a remote fishing village – Vathi – for lunch. It is about a 12 km drive which we did slowly, drinking in the landscape as we went. Arriving at the restaurant which is owned by a local fisherman and fronts on to the beach fringe and the sea, we were interested to see a family of French/Greeks holidaying there and obviously swimming. They showed no signs of distress as to the sea temperature so we resolved that we must start our swimming very sooon. This is the view we faced as we sat in the restaurant:

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We ate Revithia Keftedes (fried chickpea balls) with Tsatziki (yoghurt with cucumber & garlic) followed by calamari tiganites (fried squid) which was beautifully presented in whole tubes with separate wrinkly tendrils. It was all washed down with wonderfully fragrant white wine (kilo krassi Aspro). After that, we weren’t able to do much apart from hobble to the car and drive home.

21st May, 2012

Today has broken warm – humid even – but overcast. We go up to our bank to pay the €500.00 ‘fine’ to make our garage ‘legal’ and then go on to the accountants to tell them that it will all be sorted out soon. I did some research on the internet today and found quite an exciting document. It was the record of when Sanders & Son was first founded. Until then, it had been Dolman & Sanders (Joiners). When Dad died, it was bought by David Cox and his widow dissolved it recently.

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22nd May, 2012

Warm 26C today. Did a little bit more research today and the weirdest thing turned up. I was doing a bit of idle research on Grandad Sanders when up popped

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They held two records:

  dad.jpg  wina.jpg

I found it strange and wrote to the Society’s secretary who wrote straight back, promising to do some research for me. Quite intriguing though.

Actually did some gardening this afternoon. Quite enjoyable.

23rd May, 2012

Hot and sunny this morning. We went off to get my blood test. We were in the office for 10.00 am. We stayed talking until 12.00 pm.The blood tester’s wife and daughter were with him and we discussed the Greek economy for two hours after my test the result of which was perfect. The man who runs the testing clinic – a trained chemist who worked in Brussels for some years – earns €900.00 (£720.00) per month after taxes.  He has a wife and two teenage kids. His wife tries to find work teaching people to speak English. Their rent is €350.00 per month. They get no social security if they are out of work. They retire at 68 on a pension of €350.00 per month. They are desperate. We feel terrible but unable to help them.

We drive home for coffee and to read the paper. At 3.00 pm, we eat our lunch to the 1.00 pm News from the BBC. Whilst we ate our lunch out on the terrace looking over the valley, a pair of Kestrels – from looking them up I now know them to be Lesser Kestrels – hovered and swooped over the newly mowed fields, clearly looking for food to supply their newly hatched young chicks.

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A siesta for about an hour and then we did an hour or so of gardening. We put in three pepper plants today and pinched out our Basils. Esmerelda, who has gone to Athens for a few days, presented us with a plastic bag containing a herb pot sown with already germinating herbs. We have Oregano, Chives, Basil, Marjoram and Parsley. She is a lovely lady.

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Tonight, I spoke to Ruth who was celebrating her birthday. Of course, she was drinking again but I couldn’t blame her when I realised that she was older than I had thought. My records said she was born in 1949, making her 63. Actually, she tells me, she was born in 1947, making her 65. To compound matters, they told me that Kevan is 70 in February 2013.  It seems to be happening to all of us.

24th May, 2012

Today is an island holiday. It is Panagia Chrisopigi – The celebration of Christ being risen which, differently on this island compared with all other parts of the world, is celebrated 40 days after Greek Easter. There is a fishing village called Chrisopigi with a church built on a promontory out in the sea. Many girls take the name Chrisopigi. In Greece Birthdays are of no significancce. So Ruth would be alright. It is the Saint’s Day after who you are named – your Name Day which is celebrated. But Chrisopigi Day is more than that here because Sifnos adopted it as its own day.

Every year on this day, all work stops and the islanders process a religious icon out of the big church in Apollonia acompanied by music and dignitaries. It is taken to the port where it is taken round the island by ferry, finally arriving at the Church of Chrisopigi where it is transferred by fishing boat plus priests and dignitaries to the rocks. Everyone gets dressed up in their finery and traipses (drives) over to Chrisopigi where they stand on windy rocks for hours watching the proceedings and then go home to feast. The religious will chant Christ is Risen and stuff like that but, to be honest, it is the last chance to dress up and have a Beano before the Tourist Season – if it comes.

The two videos below are from 2010 and 2011 celebrations:

25th May, 2012

We are off to the Post Office this morning with high hopes that we will have a parcel. Phyllis has kindly been round to our flat and picked up all the ese coffee pods and posted them to us. They should get us through a few weeks. It is a beautiful day expected to be 26C with temperatures moving towards the 30Cs by the weekend.

Yesterday, I found out why Dad’s and Wina’s records were held in a Bristol Genealogy Club’s files. Grandad Sanders married Mabel Lilian Flook from Chipping Sodbury in 1914. I managed to trace her family back to 1811 with little difficulty yesterday. I’m sure it’s all in David’s research but I haven’t got it in Greece. If anyone could email me a copy of his work I would be grateful.

I am skipping. The coffee pods had arrived and I am already drinking one. Thank you Phyllis & Colin. We owe you £12.50 for p&p.

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26th May, 2012

Hot and sunny morning. Up to the supermarket in Exambla for food brought in by ferries on Friday night.

  • Beef, Chicken, Chicken livers,
  • Milk
  • Potatoes
  • Onions & Garlic
  • Pears & Apples
  • Small beers
  • Mayonnaise
  • Local Eggs
  • Cat food

As we came out of the shop, we saw an obviously English car. Looking at the number plate for its town of origin, the only marking was a phone number prefixed with 01483 – our phone prefix in Woking. I waited for the owner to come out – he turned out to be a half Greek half Englishman called Robert who lives half the year in Mainland Greece at Marathon, has a house in France and a house down the road from ours in Surrey – in Chobham. His Mother was from Paros. He was staying for the Summer with his Sifniot girlfriend and opening a bar in Faros, a fishing village on the island.

Back home to phone Phyllis. She managed to get my prescription. She said she needed a wheelbarrow to carry my 56 days worth. I will submit another in July and another in early September. In this way, I will build up a six months in advance supply to get me through next Summer.

It has been one of those idyllic days when I couldn’t imagine life being more perfect. Nothing dramatic happened but, then, I didn’t want it to. This is exactly how I imagined emjoying my retirement with Pauline. I am signing up for another thirty year contract.

27th May, 2012

A day at home today – newspaper reading, listening to the radio, lunching outside on the terrace, Finished the day watching a wonderful, film version of The Merchant of Venice with Jeremy Irons and Al Pacino. The only problem, as with all good films on Greek television, it didn’t finish until well after midnight.

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