Week 193

26th August, 2012

Worrying signs in the Greek coalition of fracture. If they can’t hang together in summer holiday time, they surely willl hang separately when the brigands are fire bombing Syndagma. Worrying signs in the British Labour Party where the two Eds – Balls & Miliband appear to be aping Brown & Blair. I’m going to have to stop reading The Sunday Papers.

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The motoring section was full of new cars, shiny cars, cars that smell of wax and new leather. Almost every year for the best part of thirty years we took delivery of a new car. I loved the smell of them, the tight feel of the steering with no ageing squeaks in the body. I loved the perfect, showroom gloss, the whole feel of a new car. Honda Accord, a number of Preludes, more than a dozen CRVs. I have one now but retirement has changed my view completely. This current car is coming up to two years old already. It’s been to Greece with me twice and I’m considering keeping it one more year. There is a new model out – only just over £30,000.00 but I’m resisting it.  I’m trying to cut down on self-indulgence – a bit.

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27th August, 2012

Happy Birthday to Mum-in-Law who would have been 98 today. She died almost two years ago.We were so hoping she’d make the 100 but it wasn’t to be.

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It’s been an exceptionally hot period so I spent the morning watering all the trees. Pauline was indulging herself – painting the house. It is really looking great and, together, we will have it finished in three or four more days. The tomatoes are continuing to produce and are delicious and the peppers have been quite a revelation this year. I can’t stop them fruiting.

We’ve decided that next year we will line our top boundary wall with tall growing, thick trees with an automatic watering system. We will seek expert advice on this and professional support in planting and maintenance for a year or two until they are fully established. These tree will be particularly useful as a windbreak as well as other things.

We went up to the Post Office in the hope of collecting our new credit cards. We have been tracking them and know they reached Athens airport three days ago but they haven’t appeared here yet.

We have a Panini press and we had a Prosciutto & Mozzarella Panini with white wine spritzer outside where there was a little breeze. By the time we went swimming at 4.30 pm, the car showed 35C outside. The suggestion is that it will go down tomorrow. Using this evening to do some writing. In times gone past, we would have left for Patras today in order to be in France by Friday and England on Saturday with a staff day on Monday and school opening on Tuesday. Now we have an open return ticket and can leave when we feel ready.

28th August, 2012

Up at 6.30 am to a much cooler day and, can you believe it, some clouds. The weather has clearly miscalculated the start of September. We are up early to get the end of the house painted before the sun is up and shining strongly. I am not a practical person by nature. My skills are in words and thoughts, concepts and arguments, communication through digital design not slopping white paint on to concrete walls. However, Pauline has taught me the pleasure one can draw from completing such projects and not relying on others all the time do such things.

The paint we use produces a wonderful, plastic skin across the wall. I know because the residue of paint from the roller tray is not washed out at the end of the session but peeled off in one, white, durable, plastic skin the next day. I suspect that, given the perfect weather – not too hot & not too windy – we could complete the entire house outside in five or six days but we have let it drag out over weeks because we can afford to. We will need another,three, solid days before it is completely finished but we’ve got plenty of time. I have to say, it is incredibly ‘white’. A Persil ad. would not be out of place here.

After a good morning’s work, a light lunch of Bruschetta and red wine and a brief siesta (seems to make it much more socially acceptable than a pensioner’s snooze), we went down for a swim. As we did, there seemed just a hint of cooler air and we didn’t stay in long. The numbers on the beach screamed SEPTEMBER.

We went down to see Panos & Rania for all the latest gossip. Rania is worried about the E in Greek being changed in its usage. She asked if there was anything in the Papers about it. I told her thousands were being massacred in Syria but she insisted I didn’t understand. Anyway, had a lovely meal and then drove home for coffee. We went to bed early and, just as the Skiathan wrote this morning, I woke up thinking the time was coming when I would need to sleep under a sheet again for the first time since May.

29th August, 2012

A temperature of 26C/79F is lovely but quite disorientating. We decided it was far too cold and windy for swimming. I was reminded that I am a new  man and asked to clean the bathrooms. Did I do it, Kevin? Well, not quite but it was a good try and it did lead to me offering to cook today. I am making a pasta sauce of small green peppers from the garden, red onion, mushrooms, home grown tomatoes, some diced parma ham, chiffons of fresh sage all reduced in a white wine sauce. It will be served with Fussilli pasta shapes and will be glorious with a bottle of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo slightly chilled. Now that’s Man’s work!

30th August, 2012

Autumnal weather – strong breeze and only 27C/81F. After collecting post and our credit cards have arrived, off to the blood testing centre which was absolutely packed out. My INR has shot back up again. On the plus side: my Warfarin dosage is reduced. On the negative: the Woking nurse has confirmed my wife’s view that I am drinking too much wine. This just strengthens her argument. I may be forced to take note. Had a chat with our architect and then our new Notary. She is keen to have another meeting next month and to come down to our house. We discussed the current political situation and, unlike in June, she was remarkably bullish about Greece remaining in Europe long term. I hope she’s right. Coffee in Prago and a chat. A bit of shopping and home to read the paper outside in this rather more comfortable weather. This is the delicious view looking out through the bourgainvillea over the sea to Anti-Paros and Paros:

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Because of the chilly breeze, we decided not to go swimming but to do jobs around the house. My job is to phone all those who automatically charge our credit card whether in Greece or in UK and give them them the new numbers. If any one is interested, they are: *********17.

  • Mobile Phone contracts in both countries
  • Satellite TV payments in both countries
  • Broadband
  • Digital version of the newspaper

All are charged monthly to our credit card account. In UK we rarely use money at all. We always pay our account off in full each month so it costs us nothing and helps with  our accounting system. Our credit card account accrues points which buys air miles. It is amazing how quickly the total builds up. We’ve got enough for return flights to Athens  collected in a very short time. We have thought that, even though we are leaving much later this year, we might fly back for a quick visit in January/February time to to check on things.

Pauline is cooking tonight. It is roast chicken with garlic, lemon and thyme and sauteed potatoes with onions. I have promised not to open more than one bottle of wine – well, actually, it is a 5ltr box but we won’t say that too loudly.

31st August, 2012

In times gone by we would have been driving on to the Zeebrugge – Hull ferry at 4.00 pm after filling the back of the car with wine, cheese, vegetables and anything else we fancied from some French Hypermarket. For us, this would have marked the last day of our Summer holidays.

Today we are in our Greek house for quite some time to come. We have lots of jobs to get through over the next couple of months but today is full moon day and will mark the end of the summer and start of autumn. In Athens, I read, they start winter timetables on some public transport on Monday. The moon comes up from the mountain behind our house. It is astonishing how quickly it moves. The line between perceptible and imperceptible seems to be defined by the movement of the globes.

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There is a perceptible change in the temperature at the moment with day time only in the upper 20sC/ low 80sF. I heard on the ‘Today’ programme this morning, that parts of England had grass frost last night. Apparently, last night in England was the coldest Autumn night on record and the Summer was the wettest for 100 years. All in all, I’m glad I’m here.

We spent the morning cutting back the bourgainvilleas and generally clearing areas where building work will be done next year. The cooler weather made it much more possible. This afternoon we have had a lovely, long swim in a sea which is now almost deserted. Absolute bliss.

1st September, 2012

Happy September.

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A lovely day – warm but not excessively so. Started the day with a phone call to the architect, downloading the newspaper and then going shopping.

Thought about doing work but decided it is Saturday and there was newspaper reading, lunch and football on television. Today the early match starts at 2.45 pm -West Ham v Fulham. Fulham were woeful and West Ham won 3-0.

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Went down for a quick swim. The air temperature was showing 29C/84F but the sea was decidedly chilly. Still, we felt better for the swim. Another match to come – Man. City v QPR – which feels like a known result already.

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