2nd September, 2012
Up very early this morning. Our intention was to get through a list of small jobs. Downloaded The Sunday Times which is the important thing and then just fell in to that Sunday feeling. Fresh coffee, toast and homemade marmalade, the Sunday paper, warm sunshine with a light breeze under the pergola, Radio 4 through the window. What more could one want?
Swimming was rather chilly yesterday and we decided to give it a miss today. Anyway, I wanted to watch Jensen Button win the F1 race from Belgium. Lucky we stayed in because Olga from Exambla called quite unexpectedly. It was lovely to see her. She brought with her a gift that her husband had made for us – Sifnos pears poached in red wine with accompanying pistachio cream. We had been up a couple of times but missed her and we had left her a jar of marmalade to remind her of London.
Watched a cliff hanger of a match between Southampton and Man. U.. Even though I support United, I felt desperately sorry for Southampton who deserved to win. They lost in injury time to a lack lustre United. Robin van Persie missed a penalty but scored a hat-trick.
3rd September, 2012
New timetable shows ferry connections reducing at an alarming rate:
We were told a scary tale last night that our friendly neighbour, Giannis, had been taken seriously ill with a stroke and rushed off to hospital in Athens. This morning, after painting and cleaning, we went down to Hotel Boulis to enquire about his welfare. We were delighted to hear that it wasn’t as bad as we had been told and that he might be home on the island tonight. Giannis is the Sifniot who we see most as he drives up and down from the farm 8 – 10 times per day. We even remember him as a ‘cool’ youth with chewing gum, slicked back ‘biker’ hair and bottle opener in his gun belt, leaning on the open door of his father’s restaurant to which he had roared up on his shiny motorbike. Times have changed and Giannis has aged.
Had a lovely meal at Captain Andreas. I’m glad we’ve started going back there this year. The food is quality.
4th September, 2012
Lovely day today. Pleasant 27C with light breeze. We got up to find Mother cat with her mini-me look-alike sleeping on the patio. After breakfast for all of us, the cats went back to sleep and we went back to gardening – pruning bushes and trees.
We were meant to be meeting the Notary but that had to be rearranged so we carried on with jobs. The weather forecasts had suggested strong winds but it turned out to be delightfully calm. At the risk of sounding weather-obsessed, I was reading The Huddersfield Examiner this evening – as you do – to find that our old haunts had received their wettest June, July & August since records began and that rainfall was three times average. Poor people.
Spoke to Superfast about our return tickets today. Currently, we are looking at end of October or beginning of November. The only problem is the island connections become so sparse. Still, we will consider that later.
5th September, 2012
Finally got to speak to the Notary. Spent a really enjoyable and productive hour there. It has helped us with a number of issues.
Spent the afternoon tree pruning and clearing away. Nothing spectacular but it felt good to have done some physical work. Our house is surrounded by pomegranate trees which grow vigorously and are a little unruly. I try to keep them in check by pruning each year.
6th September, 2012
Blood Test – excellent result of 2.3. The lovely blood testing man had been away for a couple of days. Apparently he went to a pop concert of a group I know nothing about but he says has been his favourite for years – The Red Hot Chillie Peppers. We spent some time discussing why he liked them because the clinic was miraculously empty today. I must admit I’ve barely even heard of them but he didn’t seem to know of Puccini either. I don’t need another test for two weeks. I shall miss our chats. Cafe Prago for coffee, shopping and then back to the house.
Mooched around catching up with correspondence. Retirement is so pleasant! By the time we started to think of our evening meal, we couldn’t be bothered cooking. We got pizzas from Panos & Rania – Vegetarian and one which was Prosciutto with and Parmesan dressed with rocket leaves. They were both lovely but the vegetarian one is still their best offering.
7th September, 2012
Visitors arriving on Saturday so I’ve been detailed to tidy up around the outside of the house and clean the patio tiles which go all the way round. First we have to download The Times, go shopping, fill up with petrol (80.00) and visit the woodman. Kostas and Maria are the most lovely people. We almost lived with them last year as we urged them to do our pergola. Today went to buy our annual window treatment and have a chat. We were given sugared marzipan sweets by Maria and a huge bag of vegetables from his garden by Kostas – three different sorts of aubergines, pointed peppers, beans, tomatoes, etc. They have two, delightful children – keen, energetic, intelligent, enquiring but thoughtful, polite and pleasant. Children don’t develop like that accidently. It has happened because of two excellent parents.
8th September, 2012
There is a Food Festival in Artemonas. It has various stalls for each of the Kykladik islands which is represented. The idea is that they can illustrate/publicise the representative produce/foods of their island – their local wine, olive oil, bread, etc. The festival is named after the famous Sifniot chef, Nikolaos Tselementes (Νικόλαος Τσελεμεντές) (18781958). He is considered one of the most influential cookery writers of modern Greece.
It is usually good fun with music and a chance to taste the islands’ various offerings. We are thinking of going this evening.
The Food Festival was interesting and fun but just as homely as we remember it. The music was blaring, the island stalls laying out their wares although I thought a little more sparcely than usual. Folegandros had either not bothered to turn up or left early.
We didn’t stay for the full event but we did walk up the back streets where small stalls extended for a long way and had even taken over the school classrooms. In this case, it wasn’t just food for sale but craft items like pottery, fabric and jewellery.