Week 196

16th September, 2012

A lovely day of sun and cloud with temperatures reaching 28C/83F. While Skiathan Man was dancing in the rain, and rain forecast here receded into the future. We have had a true Sunday. Newspapers in the morning, light lunch and football match – Reading v Spurs. Defoe won it with two goals. I’ve always wondered why Defoe was only used as super-sub by Spurs and by England.

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Later, Dimitris, his wife and beautiful little girl came round for a drink and a chat. We sat for a couple of hours as the sun went down, looking out to sea and infinity. It was delightful. Later, we went to Panos and Rania’s to eat. We weren’t terribly hungry so we only had a main course of Beef Orlof and chips but it was nice to see them again. Rania’s Mum is staying with them. She is a really lovely lady.

17th September, 2012

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Today, according to BBC Weather, was supposed to start with rain. As I walk out on to the patio and look over the port at 7.00 am, nothing could be further from possibility. Cloudless blue sky, barely a rustle of breeze, sun gently rising. Rain? What rain? Just as I am a newsaholic so are we avidly interested in weather. It is the British disease. We watch Ant1 weather, Mega Weather and, especially, ET3 weather for the usually excellent Sakis Arnaoutoglou in a fifteen minute presentation.

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Of course, I also have a weather app. on my laptop and on my iPad which taps into the continuously updated, global weather monitoring stations. You just can’t have too much weather! The problem is, the weather hasn’t behaved itself for some days now. When you want rain, you just can’t get it.

18th September, 2012

Since we retired, teachers’ pay has been frozen. Our pension, however, is updated each year according to the rate of inflation. It is inflation-proof. This government changed the inflation index from RPI to CPI (Retail Price Index to Consumer Price Index) with the intention of controlling the increases. The biggest difference between the two indexes (indices?) is that the first includes Mortgage costs. As we don’t and will never again need a mortgage, we really don’t feel too bad although the difference at the is 0.3%. What it means is that our pensions will have risen over 2 years by 7.7% which is not too bad in these recessionary times. The increase each year is based on the September figure but not uprated until the following April by which time it can be well out of date. Whatever the increase, we are grateful to be paid to indulge ourselves.

Watched Man. City deservedly lose to The Special One.

19th September, 2012

Busy day. Blood Test. Consistent over five weeks now at 2.3 – I must be behaving myself. Coffee and Sweet Pie at Prago. Visit to the Accountants. Visit to Kostas & Maria. Visit to Olga.

Watched Man. United play and beat Galatasaray although I couldn’t stay up right to the end.

20th September, 2012

The plumber is coming to do some work in the garage tomorrow so I have been set the task of cleaning and tidying the entire place today. We currently don’t have any doors on our garage and all the flotsam and jetsum of the island blows into it and settles along with stray cats, lizards, spiders, etc.. We dump everything we don’t want in the garage. Now is the day of reckoning.

After two hours, I am exhausted and have made a New Year’s Resolution. The year 2013 must be the year of the Garage Door. It must be automatic operated and remotely controlled. None of this getting out of the car!

21st September, 2012

Up early for a beautiful day. Still – all the weather forecasts apart from the BBC said it would be windy – calm, warm and beautifully scented. We went to the tip with all the rubbish from our garage and then cleaned the car. I have decided that I am going to keep it until the end of next year. The new model is launched in November but I’ve made the mistake before of buying the first one off the production line of a new model only to find teething problems still to be ironed out.

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The plumber arrived exactly at 10.00 am as agreed but could only do part of the job and will have to come back next week some time to finish it. We had our own agenda to complete – cleaning the inside of the car which is beginning to look a bit grubby. Today, the leather will get the full treatment as will the carpets and internal glass.

Unlike those more Northern and softer islands, Sifnos has not yet had its first rain of the Autumn. We were hoping for it this week and had unscrewed the cap on our flat roof drainage system that captures rainwater in our huge water tank. Like all Cycladic properties, ours is built on the cubist style with flat roofs. The red dust of the Summer has drifted up there and settled and would have been washed down by the first rains. However, Pauline is so keen to capture all the soft, rainwater that we have spent an hour up on the roof, hosing it down and leaving it clean for the first rains to drain straight into our tank.

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22nd September, 2012

Another lovely Saturday. Warm and still. Nice to see Giannis, our neighbour, back at work after a health scare. He says he is alright although he looks like he’s lost a bit of weight already. Apostolis, our neighbour in front called to ask if everything was alright. He was aware that we had a brief power problem yesterday but it was soon sorted out when the Power Company came down. Went up to speak to the Woodman in the middle of the morning. He is going to give me gardening lessons when he plants his vegetables at the beginning of May. I am going to help him and learn how he grows such fantastic produce almost entirely without water. There are such lovely people on this island and they are desperate to help poor foreigners like us. It is quite humbling.

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