Week 235

16th June, 2013

Every morning I drink a full glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. In England, it is two, Spanish oranges from Tesco. In Greece, it is Cretan oranges from Mario’s. The differences are stark. Firstly, Tesco’s finest are all the same size. We know it will take exactly two oranges to fill a glass. They will be beautiful, perfectly formed, identical fruits. They will cost around 30p/€0.35 each depending on special offers.. For a week, I know I will need exactly 14 at a cost of £4.20. Mario’s come in a crate and are different sizes and of variable appearance. The are covered in creases and bruises and blemishes. A British supermarket would just reject them for imperfection and lack of uniformity. It is impossible to predict how many are needed to fill my glass because some are small and some are huge. This week, I bought 17 to make sure I had enough. The total price was €3.30/£2.80 or 30% less than England. The real difference is that Cretan oranges are absolutely fabulous. The flavour is incredible compared with Spanish ones that have been stored in Tesco’s warehouse. And the blemishes on the outside are irrelevant!


17th June, 2013

Lovely start to the week. Meeting with the Notary, struggling with the first day of the school holidays, and coffee at Prego. Both were really enjoyable. The Notary is a lovely, kind and thoughtful person. It is so pleasant to deal with an intelligent human being. At the café, Pauline had soda and a Bougatsa while I just had a coffee.


We have been losing weight since January 1st. In that time, I have lost 5 stones or 32Kilos. Pauline has lost just over a stone or 7 – 8 Kilos. She has been doing it to support me but has now got dangerously thin. I am having to force-feed to keep her weight up. She is not allowed out in the morning without having eaten two slices of bread. She is not allowed to go to a café without ordering a cake. She has to integrate a little bit of pasta with her food during the day. Even so, she is fighting to maintain her weight. My medication ensures that I am still fighting to lose mine. I have another year of no carbohydrates in front of me.

18th June, 2013

Normal service is resumed for the weather if not for ERT (NERIT). Today is hot – 30C/86F with blustery winds. We had almost forgotten that such weather existed in the Greek Islands. As for the national broadcasting company, the courts have ruled that it was not illegal to close it down but that it should broadcast transitionally until a replacement can be put in place. This seems to save face for all concerned in the Coalition.

Going out to eat at Olga’s tonight. We haven’t seen her for a week or two. Looking forward to it. Not only are we sleeping on top of the bed sheets but the ceiling fans are suddenly remembering why they are here. We only use air conditioning in extremis.

We got to their restaurant about 8.00 pm. it looked closed. We had deliberately chosen a quiet time so we could talk.


Manolis was lurking in the kitchen. He phoned Olga and she shot down from their house in her car. She was nursing a huge bruise to her arm from an earlier fall. She is a lovely woman with a great sense of humour. She brought out a jug of wine and Manolis cooked huge mounds of mezedes. I wasn’t supposed to be eating it all but it seemed rude to refuse. We were then served with the most delicious Pork Loin garnished with an onion & grape chutney. Just when we thought we wouldn’t be able to walk to the car, Olga brought out a wonderful sweet. Olga talked about her daughter of whom she is so proud. We talked about London where they had lived for so many years – Manolis for twenty years. They often did the drive to Greece and back to London years before we ever thought of it. I can’t imagine what it was like driving across Europe in a 1970s car with no air conditioning, automatic gears, anti-lock brakes and, particularly, no satellite navigation. I remember the plastic covers on the thin seats in those days. How lucky are we.

Around 11.00 pm we left and they wouldn’t let us pay for our meal. We felt very bad about that but we will go back when they are busier and pay extra. The drive home through the darkness of a Sifnos night was delightful. We don’t often do it. It was especially nice to arrive at our house with all the lights on.


We had coffee and talked about our plans for tomorrow. I was still up at 2.30 am and really quite shocked to see how many vehicles are still moving in Kamares at that time. How do they manage work in the morning? Not my problem!

19th June, 2013

Up at 7.00 am, tired and still feeling full from last night. Still hot but blustery. (Not me, the weather!) We are spending some time doing accounts this morning, checking our English and Greek bank accounts, our credit card account and Euro Currency Funds. We like to keep on top of it. Fortunately, all the news is good news.

Tree/bush/plant watering is the order of the morning plus a little bit of reading/writing. Pauline is doing some cooking although neither of us can really think about food.

20th June, 2013

Hot and blustery. Not pleasant working outside. Wrote letters and emails. Talked through future planning with Pauline.

Got a call to say our burglar alarm was going off in Surrey. It turned out to be nothing. Phyllis & Colin had been round to check the post and had a problem resetting the alarm on leaving. Reassuringly, two neighbours took action and contacted us.

Looks like the ERT problem could be growing in to a full blown crisis by tearing the Coalition apart. Samaras will have to be especially careful now.

21st June, 2013

The wind continues and probably won’t abate until Sunday. I, for one, will be glad of some respite. I do find this constant meltemi-type wind disturbing/tiring.

Drove up to Apollonia to have some letters weighed for posting and then coffee at Prego café, a quick word with the Notary and back home for 11.00 am. After the alarm alert yesterday, Pauline spoke to her (very old) sister who had, kindly, collected our post. We were expecting a bill for our Surrey property from the Management Company, Chamonix. Because we live in a Duplex Apartment, all our heating and hot water is supplied centrally. We are supplied with an energy-efficient, heat exchange system. This means very low bills. The year just gone included one of the coldest winters on record. Our bill for all our hot water and our central heating amounted £110.00. Regular readers of this Blog know that I’m a bit of an ‘anorak’ about such things but, you’ll have to agree, it is impressive.

Our amanuensis phoned this morning to ask if we were alright. She has been talking Italian for a week so we’ve left her to it. We’ll meet up next week to renew our plan of campaign. Roast pork from Nikos for Dinner with our first, home-grown peppers of the season and fresh sage from the garden. Delicious!


22nd June, 2013

Pleasant morning. Looking forward to a happy Saturday. Shopping, reading the newspaper, sitting around and chatting with my wife but there is a problem with a blockage in the sewer pipe leading from the en suite bathroom. Who to blame? Certainly, we will both have to sort it out. Hope you’re not eating your breakfast while reading this. I’ll keep you informed.

Well, I got my tool boxes out – What’s a man without an 18″ tool box? –


and then got my wife to do it. Well, she’s smaller than me and can get into tighter spaces.


Actually, the ‘blockage’ had gone before she attempted anything but we did find some insidious weed roots starting to fill one of the five pipes. A trowel and a wife are all the tools one needs, dear Reader. Job done (if you’ll pardon the expression).

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