Week 212

6th January, 2013

A lovely, quiet and very warm day. I’ve spent it working on Sanders Site. Most of it is up and running now. Only the Family History pages are to be developed and uploaded now. They will be on-going pages anyway and constantly changing as we discover new things in our research. At the moment, I have addressed three pages – At Home, Abroad, & Links – plus providing access to the Blogs – Hellas Blog, Greek Island Living & Pauline’s Recipe Store.

7th January, 2013

In Greece, instead of Birthdays, the celebrate Name Days. The custom originated with the Greek Orthodox calendar of saints and, across Europe, with the Catholic calendar of saints. Name Days are more or less significant in more than twenty European countries. Today is my Name Day – Giannis/Ionnanis/John.

Happy Name Day to me, Happy Name Day to me,…………

8th January, 2013

Lovely warm day in Surrey. Woking is 50F/10C this morning. Athens is 37F/3C. Skiathan Man is reporting snow over night. He has posted this photograph in his Blog today:


Other Greek bloggers report urgently searching for wood to keep fires going. For years in our house in Yorkshire we maintained an open log fire during the winter months. We had cut down a number of thirty foot ash trees and had them logged but we were amazed at how quickly an open fire can eat logs up in cold weather. This is why we chose our log burning stove which can survive on a couple of logs for a long time.


This urgent trend to wood burning in Greece to reduce the cost of heating is bringing immediate and unexpected consequences. eKathimerini is reporting today that a “group of scientists from seven research centers will be taking smog readings in a number of Greek cities from January 10 to February 10 to gauge the environmental impact from the increased use of fireplaces and wood-burning stoves”. Also, they are reporting heavy snow in Athens closing roads and schools.


Even so, I know where I’d rather be at the moment.

9th January, 2013

Like so many others after Christmas indulgence, we have entered a chosen period of self-denial to open the new year. No alcohol and no carbohydrate are the principles at the centre of our hair shirt and we are almost enjoying it. Not one to be known for masochistic tendencies, I am actually enjoying testing myself against the frugalities of this new regime. It is also posing an interesting challenge and opportunity for Pauline. She loves the idea of inventing new meals because she is so skilled and ingenious in that regard. We have just started our second week of no alcohol and no carbohydrate which we are combining with our daily swim.

At the same time, Pauline has launched her new Recipe blog which will begin with Christmas food but move rapidly to inventive meals under the new regime. It is very current because of its timing and the media’s focus on it at this time of year. We have just watched a three part series about cooking and dieting featuring the Hairy Bikers which didn’t really break new ground other than their attempts to recreate old favourites in new, low calorie format. To all intents and purposes, this is what Pauline is attempting.


10th January, 2013

Watched The Iron Lady – played by Meryl Streep – last night. I didn’t enjoy it. It took me almost the whole film to get in to it. I didn’t like or approve of her view of the world yet it was impossible not to feel real sadness at her decline in the film. And it just underlined Eliot’s words in The Hollow Men that opens with:

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

and ends

This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

It was in my head all night.

Up early. Cold morning. First INR test of the new year. Having stopped alcohol for ten days, it may be skewed a little. We are told that cold weather is on the way – maybe even snow. At times like this, it is good to be living in Surrey.

11th January, 2013

A wonderfully bright and sunny day. Not hot – 5C/41F at 9.00 am – but very inviting. Not quite the same on the Greek island of Simi this morning where a Simi blogger writes:

There are heavy grey skies this morning and the sea is the colour of a battleship. I don’t really have much news as I wake up and start to warm up in the very cold front room.

I am watching England amass a large total in the first one day against India while having my hair cut by Pauline. Can life get much harder? Well, we will have to go swimming in a couple of hours.

The Tory led Coalition Government in Britain and rapidly digging their own graves. Their mission is to paint the Great Unwashed as lazy shirkers on whom money should not be wasted. Cutting income tax on the rich incentivises them while those lazy scroats on the minimum wage need a good dose of deprivation to shake them up. At the same time, they try to set the Middle Classes in opposition to the poor. You work all day only to keep those no good idlers in clover. The posh boys of Torydom who don’t know the price of a pint of milk are trying desperately to reassume the mantle of The Nasty Party. And next, lets attack the pensioners. They’ve got it rich. We can’t allow that. Free bus passes, heating allowances, free tv licences, we’ll take those back.

Mistake! Yes, Pauline & I don’t need our Winter Fuel Allowance; we don’t need a bus pass or a free tv licence; we don’t even need our State Pension but, like everyone else in this country, we have contributed every penny of our dues in income tax and national insurance for the best part of forty years and we expect the other side of the contract to be honoured. Unlike the callow youth, unlike the hardpressed middle aged, we have the time and the bloody mindedness to lobby and to vote. This government – already doomed – will write its own suicide note if it frames its next manifesto with cuts to old age promises!

Lovely cartoon in The Telegraph this week:


12th January, 2013

A cold morning – 3C/32F – and rather grey. The focus this morning is sorting Pauline’s laptop keyboard out. It is starting to intermittently fail. Sometimes the occasional letter prints twice or doesn’t print at all. The shift is starting to be a little unreliable. It is a two year old Toshiba Sattelite L670. I first thought it was dirty and sticking. I tried to clean it but without any noticeable change. After all, Pauline is clean. Unlike me, she doesn’t eat peanuts while typing or spill the odd bit of red wine on it while trying to shake toast crumbs out of it. After consulting the internet, I realise that it is a problem with this model.


Incredibly, a brand new, model-specific replacement can be had from Amazon for £25.00. I’ve already ordered one.

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