30th June, 2013
It was the 40-day memorial for Evangelia, the lady we always knew as Mrs. Simos. We were down at the café opposite the church as many, many people from across the island came to pay their respects. Virtually every one we know on the island was there and many that we don’t. We were able to chat to quite a few which was nice.
After our outing to the café, we came back to continue work on clearing debris from our storm drain. There is something quite attractive about working outside in full sun clad in the most ridiculous gear and soaked in sweat. All the world and his wife wants to stop and chat. To each person we explain our position and how we arrived at it. They are always interested and express an opinion. Spiros who came with two JCBs and a team of men last year to transform our land and dig out for electricity cables made a special visit with his wife and brought us bags of freshly picked tomatoes from his garden. It was lovely to see him again. The couple who came and expressed keen interest in buying our property came back this morning for a quick chat. In all, at least ten people came past and acknowledged, in one way or another, what we were doing.
We worked for about two and a half hours and are now preparing for as swim – if only to get clean. Had a lovely, long talk to our amanuensis after we got home. Lots of interesting information about meetings that we need to address.
1st July, 2013
Happy July to all our readers.
In UK, the last day of June was the hottest of the year so far and a lot more is predicted to continue through the month of July. I’m afraid here the news just gets worse. Went up to the Hardware shop for a yard brush and they had nothing good enough to do the job. I filed a complaint. We bought black Hammerite paint for the gate and some brushes.
I have to admit. it’s not a job I enjoy at all. However, my wife says it has to be done, so it does!
2nd July, 2013
Decided to go out for the morning after reading the book by CRISTINAS TELEBANTOU, Acropolis at Aghios Andreas. It was lent to me by Rania. A fortification from Mycenaean period – almost 4000 years ago – has been gradually uncovered and highlighted with the aid of much E.U. money. Many locals have been involved in the work. We noticed that our friend, Spiros Gerontopoulos, worked on the project, for example. In the very nature of things and just like Kastro, this acropolis is on high ground and surrounded by huge stone walls. When Spiros helped to move stone over the last ten years, he used a JCB. How on earth did those men of 2000BC move them into position?
Of course, all that’s left is ancient stone but the views are just spectacular. Unfortunately, my skill with a camera is really not good enough to convey the beauty of the place.
A lot of work and money has gone into this development. It is manned six days per week by two people which seemed excessive because we were 50% of the visitors this morning and we were only asked to pay €4.00 between us. This can’t be cost effective. Already, parts are beginning to look shabby. Beautiful stone seats have been created for tired walkers on the approach from the car park but they are unusable because they are surrounded by waist-high thistles as is the car park. A couple of hours with a mattock and all that could be changed. Instead, I notice that a worker has had time to cultivate a spectacular vegetable garden.
The paths and sign posting are well done and informative. The views are refreshing and spectacular.
3rd July, 2013
This spectacular weather continues – Warm but not uncomfortably hot with light breeze not high winds and moderately cool in the evening/night. It is absolutely perfect.
Mother Cat was sleeping on one of our outdoor dining chairs this morning when we got up at 7.00 am and then she managed, for the first time to our knowledge, to get the kitten to breakfast on solid food with her. It was dried food pellets (Economy Loose) from the supermarket. They seemed to go down alright but the kitten did sit in the water bowl by accident. I will try to get a photograph when I have gained its confidence.
The British Government have announced that they will charge people for medical treatment – in fact to see a GP – if they’ve been living out of UK for more than 6 months, in other words, if they are not paying their taxes in Britain. If the EU really did provide reciprocal Health treatment, it would be different but I have no confidence that Greece will give me the treatment I expect in UK free at the point of delivery. This is why we make sure we are not out of UK for more than 6 months in any one year. We pay lots of taxes to the Greek Government but I still cannot get ‘free’ health care. I have to pay for insurance for health care.
4th July, 2013
Well, you couldn’t make it up. Yesterday turned out to be a strange one. When we got up, the world was normal. We had simple things on our agenda for the day. A nice chat with our amanuensis, a swim, some plant watering, some tennis. Suddenly, serenity was shattered. The phone went and the Notary said that another couple urgently wanted to come and view the house. They would telephone and make an appointment themselves because they could speak some English.
Better tidy the house! Pauline walked straight in to the Laundry to put the dirty clothes into the washing machine and suddenly realised that the floor was wet. One of the water boilers had sprung a leak. At that very moment, the phone went. It was the couple wanting to visit. Could they come today. No! Tomorrow morning at the earliest. That was agreed.
A quick phone call to the Plumber. When could he come? 1.00 pm. From previous experience, we were going to have to source a new boiler and then the plumber would have to fit it. This is a job of around a couple of hours. Could it be done today before the couple come tomorrow? The plumber came right on time, looked at the boiler, smiled and said, No Problem. We thought, Yes there is. It’s leaking. He said he would be back in the evening. When he returned, he took out the heating element which was accompanied by huge amounts of calcified deposits – probably half a bucketful – zipped in a new element, mopped the Laundry floor, smiled and said, OK.
Crisis over. The couple arrived this morning. They were looking for a ‘big’ house and said our house was just the right size. They asked the price (although I suspect they knew in advance) and didn’t balk when I told them. They had been to see a cheaper one yesterday but found the build quality terrible. They were impressed with ours. They have gone to think and contact the Notary. We can do no more than that.
The sea was quite chilly for our swim today. We only managed 40 mins.. Wimbledon was quite enjoyable on Women’s semi-final day. Mother Cat’s kitten was the star of the evening. After being painstakingly coaxed out of her bush to share a meal of tinned meat, she proceeded to sit in the water bowl. Children! Who’d have them?
5th July, 2013
A blustery but warm day is following a lovely, cool night. We set ourselves jobs to do and then cancelled them and relaxed instead. That’s why retirement is so much fun. Pauline shopped at Moshka’s supermarket for oranges and cheese and chatted to Margarita for the first time for a while. Because she’s trying hard to maintain her weight, she bought fresh bread and a sweet pie. We drove home and had fresh, Arabica coffee and read the paper while we listened to the Today programme outside under the pergola. Today is ‘Payday’. Teachers pensions are quaintly paid the day before the date of one’s birth. Pauline was born on the 5th and I was born on the 6th. Our pensions are paid on the 4th and the 5th. Pauline also gets her State pension on the 28th of each month. What fun!
Once again the sea was a little chilly but we managed 40 minutes solid swimming and then home for showers and our meal. Today, we had the most delightful salad of mixed leaves picked from the garden.
I think I read someone on a Greek Blog writing that it was impossible to grow salad in the summer. Well, our leaves seem to be thriving. Our gardeners sited them under the shade of a large, conifer tree and they seem to appreciate it.
Exciting Wimbledon Semi-Finals this afternoon. Murray is 2-1 sets up as I write this at 11.00 pm. In the first, brilliant match, Djokovic beat Del Potro in the fifth set.
6th July, 2013
Supermarket shopping this morning. Flora has promised to bring a bag of oranges from her father’s trees in Apollonia for us to collect next Saturday. Her supermarket has switched to selling commercial fruit and the sweetness is distinctly missing. We are eating so little that our shopping is very small and extremely cheap each week now.
When we got home, Olga phoned to check we were alright. She is working hard now that the season is getting going. I must admit that, in spite of newspaper reports of tourism in Greece about to reach record levels, the island still looks fairly quiet. The beach here is not very busy. The campsite is virtually empty and the restaurants are distinctly underwhelming. Maybe it will pick up soon.
We’ve got a busy day of reading The Times, watching the Wimbledon Women’s Final, Pauline cooking biscuits (for herself) and me catching up with correspondence.
The wind is quite blustery today so we may give swimming a miss.