Week 239

14th July, 2013

Don’t say nothing ever happens on a sleepy, Greek island. Routines are important in island living. We visit Christos to wish him, Happy Sunday. He makes me a wonderful cup of fresh coffee and Pauline has a pot of tea with a huge cake to build her weight up. It is falling again. This morning, she has already had three huge slices of toast and marmalade and then, down at the café, managed a large, sticky Kadaifi cake. Poor girl! It is an effort for her.


While we were there, Christos put a glass down on our table with a knife & fork in it for Pauline to eat the cake. Seconds later, the glass spontaneously imploded rebounding shards of glass everywhere. Our initial response was amusement but, as we were driving away some time later, I reflected on the potentially fatal consequences that could have resulted from such an incident. Pauline was not wearing glasses and could have lost an eye. Shards of glass went everywhere. People sitting near could easily have had an artery pierced. Fortunately, everything was fine.

Not so fine up in Exambelar, however, where we drove up to the supermarket. One of these increasing numbers of weddings was being celebrated and cars lined the road going down towards Faros. The road was completely blocked when we got there by police cars and smashed cars. One car had been dealt a glancing blow but another had turned over. Let’s hope they got out alive.

Well it was closer than I expected and harder to listen to than I imagined but we won. England won the First Ashes Test and that is all that matters.


 15th July, 2013

Half way through July already. A strange day of strong, blustery winds and hot sun. We got up early and cleaned the car for the first time for weeks. We made an early decision not to go swimming today because of the wind. Pauline made some tomato & onion preserve and then we set off to visit Kostas & Maria at the wood shop. We need to do the annual treatment of our windows. We use an interesting bottle of fluid that was supplied by the company who manufactured the windows. It has been hard to come by for a year or two but Kostas has always managed to find bottles for us and always refuses to accept payment.


It is manufactured in Italy by a company called Industria Chimica Adriatica which is based near Ancona. If we can, we will build an extra night in Italy on the way back next year and buy supplies from the factory to replenish Kostas’ stocks.

We have both felt strangely flat today – lacklustre. We had jobs to do but couldn’t be bothered. We watched a film last night which reminded us both of the deaths of our Mothers. We talked quite late and went to sleep on sadness. Although, after five years it is happening to me less now, I reflect on what I have lost quite a lot still. It has recently been reinforced by the experiences of Greek Bloggers that I follow. The author of Democracy Street lost his Mother recently and is currently clearing her house for sale. His sadness is sharply defined in his writing. The author of Ramblings from Rhodes has just lost his 85 year old Mother and is returning to UK for the funeral. He will almost certainly be suffering self-recrimination about not being there as we did for Pauline’s Mum who died three years ago in October at the age of 96.

Must get some work done tomorrow as well as fit a meeting in with our amanuensis and, possibly, a conversation with the Notary. General Strike tomorrow so, probably, no Postal Service. We had our own delivery this evening. Once again, out of the darkness, came the cry, Κυριε John, Κυριε John. We dashed down to the gate and there again was the taxi driver Apostolos, who lives at the bottom of our road with a huge pile of cucumbers. I know what my meal will be tomorrow.

16th July, 2013

A different day entirely today. The wind has largely gone. We are finding it very difficult to rely on a weather forecast since ET3 was abolished. We watch ANTenna and Mega and the BBC website but they differ so wildly that it is rather pot luck.

My wife is outside wire-brushing the gate prior to repainting. She loves it but I do get the occasional pang of embarrassment as I sit reading my paper in the shade and she slogs away in full sun. I do offer her water and coffee at various intervals.

I did Man’s work – watering the trees & shrubs while sitting on the wall contemplating the wonders of the world. I also picked our first crop of figs this season. I filled my hat with them. Warm from the sun, soft and sweet, we gorged on them instantly. This is what was left when we were podged.


17th July, 2013

Well, the figs are working!

Overcast and humid day. Off to Apollonia early for a mixture of business and pleasure. Coffee at Prego and a chat with the regulars. A visit to the Post Office to check for an urgent letter. A trip to the butchers for six, wonderful and huge beef steaks or 3Kg of prime beef for €29.00 – wonderful value. (Tesco take note. Currently selling 1Kg of sirloin steak for €22.00.) Apologies to vegetarians and to Jane Bennett.


A quick meeting and then back home. Dropped off a return present for Apostelos en route and then home to do some office work. We have some urgent letters and emails to write.

It is 2.00 pm.. The office work has taken for ever but I think it will ‘bear fruit’. A little bit of Moshka’s cheese with Pauline’s tomato relish for lunch and then we will do some work in the garden. It is not a swimming day today nor, I suspect, will it be tomorrow.

Why do the BBC have such a down on Greece. A couple of days ago they were expressing mock amazement at the prospect of a General Strike. Another General Strike when their Economy’s in such a mess! When the General Strike turned out to be something of a damp squib, the BBC reported that not as many people supported the protest but this is only a lull before the storm. There will be far worse to come.

If you’re interested, the steak was chargrilled with onions and garlic mushrooms and it was sensational. Good job we bought six.

18th July, 2013

It was nice to wave goodbye to our favourite, English tourists this morning.

Well, I’m really beginning to feel eclipsed by the girls. No sooner has sister Jane retired as Chief Exec. of the Independent Police Complaints Commision with a CBE for her pains than little sister Liz is headhunted from her post as Strategic Director of Families, Health & Wellbeing at Manchester City Council and appointed to the UK’s top job in Social Services to three Boroughs across London.


I’m very pleased for her. She has done brilliantly. Soon it will be Lady Liz. and the whole family will have drifted South.

19th July, 2013

Received an email from Bart Simpson of the Parianos Blog asking about connections to Paros in August. When I looked, I was amazed to find that there isn’t one. There are two connections currently although one is in the middle of the night. By August, they are dropped completely. Whatever happened to Everyday to Paros? The best solution I could find for him was as follows:

paros1 paros2

It would mean an overnight on Folegandros but it is a wonderful island. We stayed at Folegandros Apartments for three weeks in the late 90s and had a wonderful time.


Lovely swim this afternoon. Come back in for shower and the news that Australia are 96 for 7 at Tea at Lords. More than 250 behind, they are in serious trouble. It would be lovely to watch this rather than listen on the radio. Nova don’t buy it unfortunately.

20th July, 2013

Talking about my satellite service from Nova; yesterday I lost three channels – Mega, Sports2 & Sports3. I did all the normal things of switching the decoder box off, wiping the card for static, etc. but to no avail. I dread phoning the company because I not only get all the annoying telecoms, pre-recorded messages but the are also in fast Greek. You can switch to English on one stem of the message tree but they soon lapse back into Greek. I used Skype to call them and it was just as well because I was holding for about 25 minutes. Eventually, they tell me without any surprise that channel repositioning by them means I need a new decoder box. They tell me it is free and I can get it from my local Nova service engineer. There used to be one in Apollonia but no longer. In fact, there isn’t one on the island. Nova will mail me one immediately.

This experience has made me reappraise my decision to stick with Nova. Lots of friends told me to move to OTE TV but I wouldn’t have been able to watch MU win the Premier League in May. Now, OTE TV take on the Premier League contract which may well destroy Nova – well for me anyway.

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