21st April, 2013
Woke a little late this morning – 7.30 am. Our first morning in our Greek house and everywhere is wonderful. The birds are singing, the wild plants are flowering in profusion, the sun is out and the sky is blue. We had the underfloor heating on yesterday in order to air the house which has been closed up for six months. This morning we really don’t need it. It is too warm. The plumber has been keeping the pumping systems ticking over in our absence and he cleared the debris which was washed down from our garden path and was blocking our gate.
Our neighbour, Apostolis, called to welcome us back. He brought his daughter, Maria, to translate but proceeded to dominate the conversation by trying so hard to speak English and largely succeeding. He was very warm and welcoming.
22nd April, 2013
Woke at 7.00 am today. Fresh orange juice and tea and then out to collect the boxes of provisions that we had posted. All sorts of things that we couldn’t fit in the car – coffee, tea, shoes, shirts, Dishwasher/washing machine tablets (¼ of the Greek price) – things which we can’t get on the island or are much more expensive. We know they have arrived because the man at the phone shop has already seen them at the Post Office. A consignment of 4 boxes. In all, it weighed just over 80 kg and cost £190.00/€225.00 to post.When we arrive to pick them up, one is missing. It has never happened before in fourteen years.
We went on to Germanos to pick up our Cosmote internet USB stick and have it installed. Really nice and very helpful people. It is a delight to go and buy from them. They installed an extra €30.00 of credit on our Greek mobile because the messaging system is in Greek and too fast to understand. We left completely satisfied.
Our pot geraniums were planted out before we left at the end of October and now are flowering strongly. I will pot them up again. I took cuttings today as well so that I can build up the stock. They are a sort of electric magenta colour and provide a stark contrast with the white walls of the house and the white tiles that the pots stand on.
In fact, the white tiles are covered in red, clay streaks from the last rains. This afternoon, Pauline and I will use the pressure washer and a mop to clean them up.
Cleaning took nearly three hours and left us exhausted but it was worthwhile. Pauline cooked griddled chicken breasts with Greek salad. I don’t know how she found the energy. Later, I was able to watch a repeat of the Spurs v Man. City match which Spurs won and which clinched the title for United who also won with a hat trick from van Persie.
We are going up to the village to see the Notary tomorrow. We’ve been advised to speak to the Community about the path that runs alongside our land.
23rd April, 2013
Woke up to a bright St George’s Day.
After breakfast, we went down to collect our post and hoping there was news of our missing fourth box. There wasn’t. Later, the UK Post Office says the box was refused when scanned because it contained perfume. Nobody told us we couldn’t post it. We will have it re-sent. It contains £100.00 worth of fresh coffee pods. A man has to live!
We met one of our friends at the post and took her back to our house. We need to employ a little man to cut down all the weeds and smarten up the place. She will bring someone over tomorrow to quote for the job.
Pauline cooked French beans with garlic as an entree for Dinner and followed it with pork steak cooked in sage and lemon sauce with griddled vegetables. It was absolutely lovely. We ate outside under the pergola and enjoyed the late evening sun.
24th April, 2013
A wonderfully warm and sunny day today. By 11.00 am, the temperature had reached 26C/79F. A conversation with the Notary confirmed the interest in our house. Our sales site has been viewed over 400 times (partly because of the kindness of Skiathan Man who features out site.) , a number of people have expressed interest and four couples have been shown round the property two of them in the week before we returned. Two of the couples are not from Sifnos. We heard of one more interested party today. One of our friends brought a man down to see us to quote for clearing the land. He will bring a partner and work for a week. We’ve agreed a price and they will start soon. It will please us and potential buyers.
We phoned Parcelforce today. They were very nice about the returned parcel. The rules have changed recently and we weren’t aware of it. They will refund our money and we will get Pauline’s sister to remove the offending items – two small bottles of aftershave -, reseal the box and repost it. It should be here in under a week as the ferry service improves in the run up to Orthodox Easter.
Skiathan Man thinks he has a bottle brush. He hasn’t seen ours. Our Callistemon is on fire and reaching to the mountains.
We have two and I am going to propogate more from cuttings this year if I have the chance.
We went down for coffee with some restaurant friends. Their internet router is playing up at the moment and I tried to help them sort it out. Although I have broadband here, it is by usb. It is incredibly reliable and quick and pretty cheap but I would still rather get a phone line so I can create a wirelesss network. This is what I need for my iPad to download my newspapers and why I rely on kind others for that facility. It is amazing how many kind people there are on this island when you look.
We went on to the local supermarket to buy freshly made Manouri cheese and to order half a lamb (minus head) for orthodox Easter celebrations at the end of next week. You don’t have to be a Christian to eat good food.
25th April, 2013
A day which opened a little hazy developed into full sun and a 9.30am temperature of 22C/70F. We went to collect the post for ourselves and friends who have lost the PO Box key and have forgotten their box number. We needed a large carrier bag when the box was opened. We spoke to the builders who constructed our house and then drove up to Apollonia to visit the garden shop for potting soil and sweet basil plants. On to the butchers for pork chops and to the supermarket for green garlic, Cretan cherry tomatoes, peppers and onions.
When we got home, we were just sorting out collection and redelivery of our errant box when a phone call came through to inform us that potential buyers of our house from Athens wanted to come for a second viewing this evening. It’s all come a bit quickly after we’ve only just arrived. We would quite happily wait a year or two but, if it comes now, it comes and we will take it.
26th April, 2013
Amazing weather after England. We have been in Greece just over a week and it is still feeling like Summer. We had a 9.00 am appointment with the Notary so we had to be up and out early. Later, we drove down to Kamares and went for coffee at a cafe. En route, we delivered a bagful of post to our friends who had lost their key and forgotten what their post office box number is. They hadn’t collected post for weeks. I produced a poster with their key number on it but, before we had been there five minutes, they had lost that as well. There is little hope.
Had some nice coffee at the cafe and drove back to the house. We spent a couple of hours cleaning and tidying in side and then I did a bit of tidying up outside. All everyday, mundane stuff. We are going out to Dinner this evening although I am finding meaningful eating difficult.
27th April, 2013
My Mum died five years ago today. I think of her regularly but, I’m ashamed to write, that I forgot her anniversary this morning. I cannot believe five years have gone by so quickly and how our lives have changed so much in that time, changes that I would have loved to discuss with her.
If you follow a very interesting Blog about Birming(UK)/Corfu life, cutely entitled Democracy Street, you will know the grieving for a lost mother that has been registered here.
Another beautiful day. I have been delegated to sweep the drive and tidy my Study. Perhaps, when I’ve done my jobs, I’ll get my Saturday Sixpence! It will be a delight to be outside and doing something physical. I ate a huge Caeser Salad last night so I have to work it off this morning.
There were three ferries in last night and quite a few people in the streets. The build up to Greek Easter is starting here. In England, I’ve just heard, that it snowed at Leeds Airport this morning.