24th February, 2013
I haven’t been ill since April 2009 until today. I seem to have caught a stomach bug which has totally incapacitated me. I am a typical man about all illness. I ignore all signs until I can face it no more and then I complain until my wife takes over. Couldn’t get out of bed this morning. My limbs were stiff, shivering and sweating. Without going into detail, my body was completely empty. In fact I had lost half a stone over last night. My head was banging and I was constantly falling into sleep mode. By mid day I was up and drinking a cup of tea which I retained for less than half an hour and I slept through the rest of the day. What more can you want from a blog?
25th February, 2013
Didn’t wake until 9.00 am. Managed to keep my orange juice and tea inside me although it all feels rather uncertain. No energy to do anything. Sorry.
26th February, 2013
Up and almost back to normal this morning. Managed to retain my orange juice and tea. Might eat later. We received a letter from the Welsh MP, Ann Clwyd, who we wrote to a couple of months ago after she had made a dramatically emotional speech in Parliament shortly after the unnecessary death of her husband in hospital. She spoke to the House about the criminal neglect meted out by nurses who thought they were too educated to care and offer the simple patient support that they are paid for and the mismanagement of hospitals which seem to be organised for the welfare of staff rather than patients. When Pauline’s Mum died in hospital, part of the problem was that she was ill at the weekend. (How could she be so careless?) Part of the problem was that nurses were too interested in their files in their offices than the humans on the Ward and part of the problem was that inexperienced Doctors were left floundering without support from seniors. We wrote to the Hospital and met the Senior Management who acknowledged failings and promised imminent changes. We left it at that. What we didn’t realise was the nationwide prevalence of this iniquity. As soon as we witnessed Ann Clywd’s intervention did we speak to anyone else. It is now clear, from, what she tells us, that there are thousands of people across the country prepared to bear witness to the failing NHS. She is planning submissions to the Health Minister. One of the certain outcomes of this movement will be 24/7 hospitals. Another will be a look at Ward Management. A third will be addressing the amount of time Specialists spend on site.
Our dear friend from Sifnos phoned us today to tell us about out electricity bill which is quite nice. They owe us 57.00. She was surprised to find that we didn’t have to pay the House Tax. I wasn’t but I’m pleased it has been confirmed. Our previous island ‘friend’ may have left our affairs in a mess but it has a rewarding side to it.
27th February, 2013
The day brightened up to a lovely one with some pleasant sunshine. We had a wonderful swim in a fairly quiet Health Club and then decided to do some Office Work. Phone calls and emails afternoon after homemade asparagus soup. Pauline did a full audit of the accounts and a redesigned Teachers Pension Website Membership was announced. It carries our P60s, our earnings and tax payments. Pauline has received a radically revised Tax Code following the payment of her first State Pension in three weeks time.
28th February, 2013
Last day of February. Spring won’t be to long now. Weak sunshine here and still cold. The thermometer says 8C/47F but it feels much colder. Only 10C/50F in Greece today but a bit sunnier. For some reason, Greek cold weather always seems that much more biting. Perhaps because it doesn’t meet expectations.
Interesting news from Greek newspapers about the new Greek identity papers/passport. This is particularly unfortunate for those EU citizens with dual Nationalities. The Greek Government is going to force all its citizens to re-register, give up their passport(s) and identity papers and be issued with a new, EU passport in which all will become naturalised Greeks with no dual nationality allowed. This will be difficult for some who have traded on dual identity particularly for Healthcare. In UK, the Coalition Government are looking to restrict access even for EU citizens to Social Welfare services including NHS.
1st March, 2013
Happy March to you all. Happy March to the Tory Party who now know they are going to crash and burn in a couple of years not to be seen again for quite some time. What is worrying is the success of the British edition of Greece’s Golden Dawn – sort of Golden Dawn with Manners. If CallmeDave tracks to the right we find ourselves on the European brink, we will all regret it.
2nd March, 2013
Pauline and I are not intrepid travellers on any level. We love travelling but every step is planned with the intention of removing as much risk as possible. This is as much the case on our journey through life as our travels through Europe. As soon as our Greek house was built, we looked for insurance. It wasn’t the easiest thing to do. The Greeks we asked looked at us with some bemusement. When we said it must include ‘earthquake cover’, they thought we were bonkers. Eventually, we did find a Greek chap who represented an American Insurance company who would sell us cover but it was very expensive. We found a good company who would insure our UK and our Greek property at a discount and have been with them for a year or two. Intasure has really put our minds at rest. I wouldn’t mind betting, however, that a poll of islanders would show a large majority not insured. These are poor people who stand to lose everything in the event of a disaster. At which point, they would have to turn to the State for help.
Now, the Government is legislating for the problem. They estimate that there are no more than 15% of properties with insurance policy against an earthquake across the country. The Greek finance ministry is going to make property insurance against earthquake and floods obligatory according to the excellent Greek Blog, Keep Talking Greece. The argument behind the property insurance is that the Greek state is unable to compensate victims when an unexpected event such as an earthquake occurs. This is an attempt to forestall the possibility of widespread economic damage from an unexpected event such as an earthquake or flood. The insurance policy will be compulsory for every act that has to do with the property like sale, rent etc. What was most interesting to me was that the first, grassroots Greek response I read was to view this measure as yet another tax on the part of a heartless government. Sometimes, you just can’t win.