Week 229

5th May, 2013

Καλό Πάσχα  to all our Greek readers. You could not ask for a more perfect day. Still, bright and warm – 27C/81F. A delicious day to relax and enjoy.

Mother Cat didn’t turn up for breakfast until 2.00 pm. Goodness knows what she was up to last night.

6th May, 2013

Perhaps it is the prerogative of old men to muse upon the passage of time. Certainly, it has been a preoccupation of mine for quite a while and only underlined by retirement. As you will see on the right hand side, I follow lots of Greek Blogs. Some are constant companions like The Skiathan and Simi Dream. Some take quite a bit of reading and I dip in and out of like Ramblings from Rhodes or are occasional interest reads like Gate to Greece and Living in Greece. And then there is Democracy Street.

It is written by Simon Baddeley – sporadically when the spirit takes him. I go back to check a couple of times a week and sometimes he has written and sometimes he hasn’t. The author is an interesting man in his early 70s, I think, who lives in Birmingham and Corfu – to and fro between Handsworth in Birmingham and the village of Ano Korakiana in Corfu where he has a house on ODOS DHMOKRATIAS. He is a grandson of a man who appeared weekly on Midlands and the network television in the 1970s & 80s – Jack Hargreaves – who could be seen presenting Out of Town.


Although beyond retirement age, he still works as a part-time lecturer in Local Governance at the University of Birmingham. He is active in his two, local communities and is a keen allotment grower.Recently, Mr Baddeley’s Mother has died and he has reflected his reactions in his Blog. I measured my own against them. He has a penchant for assessing the passing of time which accords with my own. And that brings me to the point. Today, his Blog muses on the how time speeds up as we get older and posits: Time passes faster for us because we’ve got less of it. Maybe that is true.


7th May, 2013

Interesting day. Started off warm and sunny; became overcast and humid by lunchtime; gave us a deliciously cool afternoon’s gardening and then turned back to warm and sunny in the evening. In Greece, of course, it is May Day (deferred) and the Big, post-Easter exit.

It has been so hot and dry that we have been furiously watering trees and shrubs since we arrived. That was first on the agenda this morning after downloading and browsing the newspaper. Last summer, we planted out some herbs that we particularly like in our cooking and that cannot be found growing wild around the house. Sage, mint and tarragon are important to our flavours as well as the naturally occurring thyme and oregano. We also have enough rosemary bushes to start our own business. Everything has been successful apart from the tarragon. Having cleared the cover of weed and watered the plants, they are bushing up nicely. We grow basil, parsley and chives as annuals and they are under way.

I am trying to cultivate quick-growing salad vegetables – cut and come again lettuces of different varieties – before the weather just becomes too hot. I am growing lots of peppers and a few courgettes and I intend to buy a few tomato plants from the garden shop.

Olga called this afternoon to bring us an Easter present. She didn’t stay long because she and her husband are up to their eyeballs in cooking. Their restaurant is supplying food for a wedding party on Saturday with a potential guest list of 700. Scary or what?

8th May, 2013

As we expected, the morning opened grey and overcast and decidedly cooler than our first two weeks this year. It appears to be mirrored by UK weather where this morning’s forecast opened with Summer’s over. By the time we had finished breakfast, light rain began to fall. It will help loosen the weeds for garden clearing – when we get out there. The big question of the day will not be What is in the Queen’s Speech? but more Will Alex Ferguson retire?

We bought the kitchen in our Greek house from IKEA in UK. It was half the price of the same kitchen in IKEA (Athens). We had a shipping container booked so it all went in that and then was delivered by lorry to the house. Over the winter, some kind Greek built and installed the whole kitchen from flat-pack. It felt like a miracle.


This was in 2005. Eight years on, three of the doors have slight paint damage on their top edge – two under the sink and one above the built in oven. I emailed IKEA to ask what could be done. They told me that the kitchen had been discontinued but that they did carry some back stock across Europe. To be sure of the exact dimensions, we had to wait until we were back in Greece. As soon as we got here, I measured up and contacted IKEA (UK) with photos and the details and quoting my credit card details to be charged. Within two hours, I received an email back to tell me that three doors had been located and were in despatch for our house on Sifnos. There would be no charge. It would be a pleasure to help us out.

It is moments like that which are so life-affirming. Three doors – cost in themselves £120.00 – and transport across Europe – another £100.00 – adds up to a fair piece of support from a company who didn’t need to do it. All I can say to people out there is BUY IKEA (products or shares).

9th May, 2013

A cooler more cloudy day but with sunshine. Over the mountain, potential rain clouds periodically fall but fail to drop their rain. Our amanuensis phoned at 8.30 am to say she was up a mountain an would not be at the postal delivery this morning. We collected it and delivered post to Panos & Rania. We then walked on to the cafe, saying Good Morning to our friend, Kiki en route.

Over coffee, we had a good chat with Christos and he finally got round to bringing up the sale of our house. We wondered when he would. We assured him that we had no intention of selling cheaply and losing money. We are quite happy to wait a few years if that is what it takes. Nor do we intend to leave Sifnos when we do sell. He thought Greeks wouldn’t be able to afford our house but we’ve already had two Greek couples look round and not balk at the price plus an Australian couple and a British couple. It suggests to us that we are just about right on price even if it takes a while to be found.

10th May, 2013

We didn’t hear it but, when we got up at 7.00 am, there was evidence of overnight rain. Puddles on the road. (Good title for my book?) The surrounding mountains were cloaked in low cloud and the air felt damp. After breakfast, which was attended by Mother Cat, we went out shopping. Off to the Post Office first to see if our errant box had arrived. It hadn’t so it will be Monday at the earliest now. No fresh coffee until then.

I wrote yesterday about the kindness (enlightenment) of IKEA in providing us with three, replacement, kitchen cupboard doors at their own expense. Today, we had more largesse heaped upon us. Flora, at the supermarket, keeps giving us produce from her garden and, when we asked the woodman for things, he insisted on not asking for payment. Life can be a joy – not because of the money but because of the spirit.

11th May, 2013

A cooler day today not reaching above 22C/70F. After reading the newspaper, we did some gardening. The weather forecast for days has been trailing rain to come. Suddenly it looks very unlikely which probably means no more rain until September. I will have to get on with the watering.

I watched Chelsea beat Aston Villa in a reasonable, end of season match but we didn’t get the Cup Final here which would have been nice to see. It so often appears that relegation teams do well in the Cup. Well done, Wigan.


Pauline made beetroot chutney while I lazed around watching the football.


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