3rd June, 2012
It as if the button had been pushed on June 1st. Islanders finished painting and tidying and opened their doors for tourists. And tourists came. Not as many as usual but some came and the island began to feel like a tourist destination again. The ferry timetable has suddenly improved and the weather is getting increasingly warm. Last week, the beach was totally deserted. Now there are a few swimmers and a few more sun bathers. This is where the Greeks get their optimism. They know the sun will always shine and believe that the tourists will continue to arrive.
It is Orthodox Whit Weekend and many here will be Greeks returning to their homes for the celebration. Beacons are burned on the tops of the mountains and a flotilla of boats sail round the island carrying flares and torches. I have to admit, we didn’t go out to watch. It’s all a bit messianic for us. We did have a lovely swim, though. Temperature hovering around 27C.
4th June, 2012
Hotter again – 28C and swimming was delicious particularly because I spent an hour or so out in the heat with my brushcutter, cutting back the tall grass and dying weeds.
Watched a bit of the soggy flotilla down (up) the Thames. I am no monarchist but I admire anyone of that age who can stand for so long in such cold. In Huddersfield, I read, Jubilee parties were dampened by heavy rain, strong winds and ‘the coldest June day for twenty years’. Shame. They should be Republicans and then the sun would shine.
5th June, 2012
A good day that went bad today. It turned out to be incredibly hot and windless and we were brush cutting. We were just finishing when our cutter, which has been troublesome since we bought it, stopped. It had picked up some electrical cable lying in long grass since the house-build and that was wrapped tightly around the blade. Not only that, one of the blade sections was badly chewed and probably won’t last a lot longer. We bought the machine in Piraeus a couple of years ago. It is a Nakayama XH1000 – no, I’ve never heard of it either – but it was cheap at about 85.00.
I have found three retailers in Athens who sell this model and emailed them about supplying spare parts but I’m not holding my breath.
A bit fed up with the way things had gone, I put the cast iron griddle on the new, outside cooker on the patio. One of the rings on top shorted and tripped the power. I will have to take that back as well. That will not be easy. The shop owner speaks no English. We will almost certainly end up buying new of both items.
6th June, 2012
The thermometer is rising and 35C is forecast by Monday. Today is hot but pleasant, with a little breeze. Decided to ignore the brushcutter for a while. We went to the cafe for coffee and chat. Christos is really depressed about the state of the country and the effect it is having on his business and may have on his future life. We met a couple of Danes who came in for a bag of ice. They said that they lived in Piraeus because they were involved in the Zea Harbour Project which, as their website says, combines land and underwater archaeology to obtain a full picture of the ancient Zea and Mounichia Harbours in the Piraeus. The man we met seems to central to the project. His name is Bjorn Loven and he has written: The Ancient Harbours of the Piraeus, Volume I.1 The Zea Shipsheds and Slipways: Architecture and Topography which most of you will have read, of course.
7th June, 2012
For quite a long time, we have wondered about the value of our Greek property. It is about six years old now. Everyone who visits says it is wonderful but are they just being polite. The last couple who visited did say this is how they imagined a Greek footballer’s house to be and someone did say to us recently that he wanted to know if we ever thought of selling. There are no formal outlets for property valuation or sale particularly not on the island. We know that one main way of house valuation is by square meterage but didn’t know what multiple to apply. Then there is the land around the house. Ours is extensive. Today I found a company selling a house of 95 sq. m. at 3000.00 per sq. m. for 285,000.00. It has little or no extra land, only two bedrooms and no garage. It also has a lot of neighbours whereas we have none. Our house was originally 153 sq. m. but we subsequently added a garage of 35 sq. m.. We have three bedrooms, a study and a laundry plus a lot of surrounding land. Our house would have to be valued around the 500,000.00 mark but I really don’t want to leave it. If Greece leaves the E.U., I may find I have to.
8th June, 2012
The saga of our legal electricity really illustrates the clash between old and modern Greece. Today, we took a another step forward. We went up to the Electricity Comany – DEDDHE – to find out about developments. The news was excellent although it took us a little while to realise. The man in the office, Mr Giamakis, gave us a piece of paper. I recognised my name but nothing else. Effectively, Mr Giamakis was confirming that we had never been granted legal electricity before and should be done so immediately for our house in Kamares. This letter will be taken by our architect to the island of Milos to get the final stamp which will lead to Mr Giamakis arranging for some workers to come and give us a new electricity meter. This is the paper on which I have pasted a translation which took me a little time to do:
After this, we went on to the Accountants because we had been told everyone had to complete their tax form. Last year, unexpectedly, we had to pay a 700.00 house tax. We expected the same again this year. We were surprised, therefore, to find we didn’t have to pay anything at all this year. In fact, the Greek Government are giving it back to us. Apparently, so many ex-pats complained about the tax that we are being given half of it back. Could be worse.
9th June, 2012
Today, the temperature is reaching 30C and we are looking forward to swimming. First, we have quite a lot of shopping. We have decided to cut our losses and buy a new oven for outside on the patio. We went up to see Flora and she had the perfect thing for 120.00 in white.
We do quite a lot of open-air griddling of meat by laying a cast iron griddle over the rings. It means the house isn’t full of fumes. The oven has a grill and large, two tier oven capacity as well.
We also went up to the DIY shop which is nearby and bought paint for re-painting the pergola, a rake for the garden, some new secateurs and some water connectors for the hosepipes. Back to the supermarkets. All the fresh supplies come in on Friday night boats from Athens so Saturday morning sees plenty of stock. Pauline bought a huge piece of Salt Cod or Stock Fish or Bakaliaros as the Greeks call it. Home for coffee by 11.30 am. The day has almost gone.
Fresh coffee, newspaper, water the vegetables, write up my Blog and then it’s time for swimming. It’s certainly hot out there. Well the water was
freezing refreshing. Apart from toast for breakfast, we only eat one other meal now that it is getting so hot. That meal comes about 5.30 pm after swimming. Today, I am cooking a one pan meal of potatoes, onions, peppers and chicken pieces marinated in oil and oregano. It’s making me hungry writing about it!
Football tonight. I enjoyed the games last night – particularly the Poland v Greece game which Greece should definitely have won.
Netherlands v Denmark and then Germay v Portugal tonight. The Dutch will just win but the Germans will bully the little Portugese off the park.
Just heard the good news about my sister, Jane, who has just been accepted in to the latest club. Congratulations.