8th July, 2012
It was the heat, the sun, the blistering temperatures that first hooked us in Greece. We both loved it. Pauline was a slim, lithe, 29 year old when we spent our first three weeks in Greece in 1980. We were in Zakynthos island and Pauline’s skin turned olive golden brown. Against everything that had gone before when I had appeared a beetroot in the sun, three weeks under the Greek sky turned my skin into a wonderful, deep, dark brown that has never really left me. Since that first occasion, a few minutes in the sun is all it takes to top me up. However, as we’ve got older, we have found our tolerance to sun and to heat decrease quite markedly. We sit in the shade more and avoid the direct sun as much as possible. In those Zakynthos days, we carefree young things lay out in the sun for hours on end with real determination to ‘get a good tan’. Of course, we could be just becoming more Greek. They avoid the sun like the plague.
The only reason I mention this is that we are into heatwave season. One is hitting us just now. Temperatures of 38C – 41C (100F – 106F) are forecast for Athens over the next few days. Of course, sea breezes mitigate these highs for us but it is still uncomfortable and energy sapping.
9th July, 2012
The new and much improved ferry timetable was issued today.
Today, we drove up to the Accountants to show them our new electricity permit which they were very pleased about. We then went to the Electricity Company to arrange for our new meters to be installed. Our friend, Esmerelda, helped us through the arcane, Greek rule book. Two hours she negotiated for us this morning. We have to get an electrician to re-authorise our electrical circuit diagram which has lapsed by six months or so. Officially, they should reinspect but they won’t. We then have to co-ordinate an electrician, a stone mason to build the electricity meter housing and an official of the Electricity Company to come to our property on Monday morning next week to survey and agree the job in hand. When this has been done, the stone mason will come first. Then the Company will fit the new meters and, finally, the electrician re-connects everything. Of course, it all costs money – about 2000.00. All of this really grinds you down. It is not the money, although that is infuriating, but the sheer pettiness of it. We have been waiting six years for this to happen.
10th July, 2012
The heat just continues. It is very tiring. It saps one’s energy and ambition. We had intended to do a lot of painting today but, instead, we went up to see the Notary with Esmerelda. The Notary is the Government agent who deals with property purchases and sales. Just walking was an effort today. We hear that Britain is cool and experiencing some rain. We live in GU22 in Surrey and I checked this week’s forecast on the BBC contrasted with our island:
A wonderful swim this afternoon in sea temperature of 25C was delicious. The atmosphere was so hot that we didn’t even go down to swim until 4.30 pm.
11th July, 2012
The temperature is back as soon as I get up. The sheets are soaking wet with sweat and our skins are clammy. As you can see from the weather chart, the temperature never falls below 22C/70F and the bedroom often reaches an uncomfortable 29C/85F.
Yesterday, we made the momentous decision to sell the house. We had talked about it on and off last year as the European crises worsened. Last Winter in Woking we agonised over it without coming to any conclusion. Yesterday, in conversation with the Notary, we decided the time was right. Our decision was pushed on quite by accident. Two English women looking for land to build on came past our house. I invited them in and learned that they had been coming to our island for a number of years and had always said that our house was the ideal one. Pauline and I hadn’t actually formally agreed but I heard myself saying that our house was available.
They may buy it or they may not but we have definitely decided that we are going to sell if someone offers us the right price. We are about to put the word around to people who previously said they were interested.
12th July, 2012
Another reason we have decided to sell is that a neighbour and previous ‘friend’ is causing us increasing problems. He is failing to control his livestock adequately and they are coming on to our property inspite of our frequent complaints. Recently, when we were away, he came on to our land or paid someone to do it and stole some of our water pipe attached to the pump we use to water our trees. I had already written to him a formal letter refusing him rights to enter our land and he has clearly ignored that and trespassed. It means we have to take action. This will be a discussion at the police station where we will submit a written report and then we will ask our new lawyer to build a harrassment case against this man who clearly thinks he can do what he wants. We have photographic evidence, written communication records over a number of months and we think we can build a strong case for persistent harrassment as well as criminal trespass and theft. It will cost us money but we refuse to be bullied. Fortunately, we have some wonderful, intelligent, resourceful and well-connected friends who are very keen to help us. I’m rather looking forward to it.
Today feels incredibly hot and oppressive. The temperature didn’t drop below 30C/86F last night and was 34C/93F by 9.00 am. The temperature seems to be hotting up in all sorts of ways. At this moment of writing, the temperature outside is 37C/99F.
Another lovely swim today. The beach is looking a bit more like a holiday one although still not as busy as one might hope if one was in the tourism business. Decided we must go up to have coffee with Olga in Exambla soon. We met again yesterday and asked us.
On Monday we have a meeting at our house of all the professionals involved in our current case. It will be very interesting. We are trying to freshen up the outside paintwork. We did a full re-paint two years ago. Unfortunately, it is so hot at the moment all activity is difficult.
13th July, 2012
I have contacted Superfast and changed our return ticket to an ‘Open’ one. They seemed only too happy to do it. At least now it allows us to stay in the house through October and, maybe, even in to November if a sale is going through and/or we are involved in legal proceedings. It gives us the flexibility. On Monday, everyone is coming to our house for 12.00 mid-day. We are hoping to hear more about two wealthy Athenians who are interested in buying well built property here.
In the mean time, we are busily sprucing up the property with a coat of ‘Brilliant White’. We were up at 6.00 this morning to take advantage of the cool early morning before the sun destroys us. I must admit I personally hate painting but Pauline loves it so I have to support her.