Week 191

12th August, 2012

I’m ashamed to say that I spent the day reading The Sunday Times while Pauline was painting the side of the house. My excuse was that I was in atrial fibrillation for a couple of hours which made me feel rather shaky.

We watched the men’s marathon with incredible admiration, had a swim but I only ‘bobbed’ and then after a delicious beef stir fry which my wonderful wife conjured up, we settled down for the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games. I have to say I was rather disappointed. Maybe being forty years younger would have helped but The Who? I couldn’t stand The Who when they were alive. I certainly didn’t appreciate them at 2.00 am, as it was in Greece at the end of the show.

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13th August, 2012

We spent the morning pruning bushes. By the time it got too hot to go on, I could hardly feel my arms. Quite oppressively hot by 1.00 pm. Long swim and then cooked sweet & sour pork spare ribs with rice pilaf.

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Did some writing before going to bed early and sleeping really well. Trying to catch up from Sunday night. I don’t cope with late nights as well nowadays. When I was younger, I used to revel in them.

14th August, 2012

Up early again and down for the post and to download the newspaper. Spent the morning in Apollonia with our amenuensis meeting various people to pay bills, check on water drill developments, legal matters, etc.. Really enjoyed the morning. Left our friend up there at the Medical Centre. Came home for coffee. 33C/92F.

The day got hotter and the movement of air became less. When we finished an hour in the sea at 5.45 pm, the temperature was 33F/92C. We had chicken and chips with lemon sauce for our meal. Coffee on the patio whilst star gazing and discussing how we’d use the £148,000,000.00 that one English couple have won on the Euro Lottery. All those lovely people who have gone out of their way to help us would get a share.

Wake up! Wake up!

15th August, 2012

On the 15th of August, The Virgin Mary is celebrated with large festivals all over Greece. While I have absolutely no interest in that, it does mean that the blood testing centre is closed and I will have to put mine off for a day.

16th August, 2012

Bugger the Virgin Mary, I’m off for my blood test today after collecting the post and downloading the newspaper. Quite a busy morning. Got the new electricity bills – we have two, one for the house and one for the pump. From the latter, we manage to work out what our House Tax will be. In England we pay about £1750.00 + £1750.00 service charge = £3500.00 0r  €4100.00. In Greece our House Tax will be €240.00 per year. Now you can’t argue with that although so many Greeks do!

The Medical Testing Centre is privately funded and run by the most delightful chap who used to work in Brussels as a chemist. Currently, he sells bread in his spare time. He speaks excellent English but is always keen to learn new words. To pump up the vein for the extraction of blood, it is necessary to squeeze and release, squeeze and release one’s fist. What do you call this action, he asked a few weeks ago? Clench, I said. Clench? What is this Clench? In my automatic teacher way to help him remember it I said, In England we say, Clench your buttocks. What is this Buttocks? When I explained, he laughed but didn’t forget. Now, when I go behind the curtain which is the only thing separating us from all the other patients in the waiting room, as he is about to plunge the needle into my arm, he says very loudly, CLENCH YOUR BUTTOCKS! Fortunately, the only other English speaker on the other side of the curtain is usually my wife who is in on the joke.

Today, on the other side of the curtain sat a portly lady who, it turns out, speaks perfect English and who teaches modern Greek at Cambridge University. When I did my standard joke of coming into the waiting room from behind the curtain having been stabbed by the baker’s needle, screaming and with my arm dangling lifelessly at my side, the portly lady looked a little concerned. She kept getting calls on her mobile from her teenage children. Suddenly, she turns to me and asks, What time is it in England? I’m sure she knew really and I was very tempted to reply, Clench your buttocks, but I resisted it. We established that it was ‘A Levels’ day in UK and two of her children were waiting results which she announced very loudly as 3 A*s and, tut,tut, 2As + B. We didn’t stay for her to give blood or her buttocks to be clenched or as the baker is now learning, UNCLENCHED.

We went to the Cafe Prego for frappes and a meeting with our architect. It’s funny but so many Greek friends say we shouldn’t have so many lights on at night. The architect’s first observation was that we should put all our lights on because it’s dark where we live. I love that cafe. Today, after all these years, I got into conversation with the waitress who, it turned out, had been born and lived in America for the first few years of her life. We went in to the Bank to talk to Piggi about the automatic payment of our second electricity bill.

Later we phoned the testing centre to see if the baker was still obsessed with clenching. My INR was back in to perfect territory at 2.3 and I was looking forward to reporting that to Woking Hospital. I tried for hours to Skype them but only got a recorded message. In Huddersfield, the patient group was so small, the testers called us by our first names and discussed their families with us. In Woking, they are so under pressure, they won’t even notice that I haven’t reported my test. I’m just grateful that I have more than a six month supply of drugs and it is all free.

17th August, 2012

The past few days have been so glorious that one could imagine living here for ever – well, until one dies as Kevin reminded me. I must find a burial place. Now I wonder who could help me with that?

Looking forward to the start of the Premier League on Saturday particularly now we’ve bought Van Persie. On Nova TV I will see:

  • Newcastle v Spurs
  • West Ham v Aston Villa
  • Fulham v Norwich
  • QPR v Swansea
  • West Brom. v Liverpool
  • Wigan v Chelsea
  • Man. City v Southampton
  • Everton v Man. Utd.

They are replayed over the week so I always have a football match to watch when I’m bored.

18th August, 2012

Cooler day today – 29C/84F with blustery winds. Did the major weekly shop and then returned to read The Saturday Times. We went swimming although the water was on the chilly side and then came home to cook a meal before the football started. Newcastle v Spurs today. I was delighted to watch Newcastle win and amused to see their manager sent to the stands for a minor push on the linesman or fourth official. Watched the last third of a boring, 0-0 draw between Arsenal and Sunderland. Man. City being beaten 6-0 by Southampton tomorrow.

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