28th July, 2013
This week will usher in August as we toboggan down the year. After a fantastic run of weather from April through June, July has been a little less inviting. Windy but not consistently so. Sunny and warm but not hot. The sea has been colder than we can remember it at this time of the year.
I have been wondering about visitor numbers because the beach is quieter than normal and our Sunday trip down to the café confirmed this. Christos told us what our friends from other islands were confirming, tourism is significantly down. He also agreed that it was unlikely to be rescued by Greek holidaymakers, as Kathimerini has been suggesting.
Although our Pensioner Gardeners did a fantastic job clearing our land. The slightest drop of water seems to encourage growth of weeds. As I take the huge hosepipe round the grounds watering shrubs and trees, there is inevitable spillage. We’ve noticed recently a patchy resurgence of greenery. Never one to encourage Nature, we brought with us gallons of Glyphosphate for this very occurrence. It works like a dream.
You can cover a large area in a short time with this equipment – well, my wife can. I just do the pressure pumping up.
29th July, 2013
Happy Birthday to Jane Georghiou. My favourite skinny person. Here she is leading the race as usual:
Spent most of the day writing a legal submission. I am so out of practice that I have found it exhausting. Four hours concentration is just too much for an old soul like me. Still it is done and ready for despatch!
I left my Training College more than forty years ago. I haven’t seen most of my ex-student friends since then. One or two came to my wedding and one popped up on my Facebook screen this morning.
I think this photo looks circa 1969/70. ‘Tash’ – Can you work out which one he is? – bought us an egg coddler for our wedding present. Love the necktie – so typical of Pudsey. The other one who thought he was cool, smoking is Pete Holgate. Neither has much left their old haunts. Apparently, Tash is in Leeds and Pete in Harrogate.
30th July, 2013
Out to collect the post and then to Germanos to collect the new OTE TV decoder box and viewing card. Dinos has been summoned to come and install the new service for a set fee of €25.00. Giannis had said it would be ready early this week and, true to his word, it was. It is quite amazing what competition can do to business. This service from OTE is at least half the price of Nova. Even the installation price is set and very low. Everything arrived with extraordinary speed. There is hope for Greece yet!
Quick chat with Notary and Amanuensis, trip to the butcher and then home. An earlier swim today because it feels warmer – actually, only 32C/90F – and the wind is down. The sea was still cold but we swam solidly for 30 mins. before driving home.
Fresh salad leaves and tomatoes from the garden for lunch with brie cheese and homemade beetroot chutney and tomato compote.
31st July, 2013
Apostolos called last night with a huge bag of enormous tomatoes and peppers from his garden so no need to go shopping today. It’s going to be a hot day so swimming is on the activity list. Hopefully, Dinos will phone to say he is coming over to fit our new OTE service.
Dinos phoned at 10.00 am, displaying the new Greek/German efficiency. He said he would be with us at 5.00 pm. At 5.00 pm, there was a knock on the door and there was Dinos with smiling face. I shot out of my chair and promptly passed out. Everything went black like some rehearsal for an end of life experience. It is a consequence of my blood pressure tablets. As life came back to my eyes, Pauline and Dinos were holding me upright against the wall, both looking aghast. It was more worrying for them than for me.
Ultimately, Dinos took it in his stride as part of the tv installation job. He last came to our house eight years ago to fit the satellite dish. Fifteen minutes later everything was up and running and I was handing over the set fee of €25.00. I immediately set to trying to cancel my Nova subscription. The last day of the month would be perfect to cancel. There was no chance. I got blaring, revolting guitar ‘music’ interrupted by a loud, Greek voice telling me there was a fifteen minute delay. This went on for thirty minutes. I could take it no more and gave up.
We went out to eat with Olga & Manolis at Στροφι in Katavati. We had a lovely meal – Beef Steak and Green Beans and a long chat. They are interesting people who also know lots of interesting people. We were there for more than two hours. We ate and drank too much as usual and drove home through the humid, sticky darkness in our cold, air-conditioned car. We were too full to sleep. We talked and planned the next few weeks. It was a good way to see July out.
1st August, 2013
Happy August every one. I just wish the UK would send some of their rain over here. Typical of the British to keep such weather to themselves. The Third Ashes Test starts today in ….Manchester. I suspect that it won’t reach a conclusion. The weather is predicted to be wet, wet, wet!
For a long time now I’ve been following a Blog called Democracy Street. You will know. I have featured it here many times. It is written by an interesting man, who is much older than me, called Simon Baddeley. He went to Cambridge, I think, and taught in many parts of the world but has been associated with Birmingham University for forty years. He seems to specialise in Political Management and, particularly in Local Government. He is very much into Localism. He lives in Handsworth, Birmingham where he has an Allotment and encourages others in environmental maintenance. He has a house on Corfu which is where the Democracy Street comes in. He and his wife travel constantly between Birmingham, Corfu and, until his Mother died, the Highlands of Scotland and they do this travelling in such a hand to mouth manner as to exhaust mere mortals. None of this luxury travel that Pauline & I do.
One of Simon Baddeley’s other great passions is related to his Step-Father – a man anyone of my age will remember from the old ATV channel in the long running series, Out of Town. The current Blog entry describes Simon’s latest tireless need for travel and communication. He was going to meet his friend who lives in Rawtenstall, Lancashire. This is no mean journey in itself and means him using trains and buses. Be that as it may, Simon takes a photo of his friend, Paul Peacock, who has written a ‘Biography‘ of his step father. This is the photo:
Pauline & I take one look at it and suddenly realised it is not just a Paul Peacock but THE Paul Peacock who we taught with for some years and who was Pauline’s assistant. The coincidences of life never cease to amaze me.
2nd August, 2013
More people have called in to say, Hello and to wish us well this year than ever this year. They have all expressed regret that we are selling up but understand completely when we explain why. Last night, Manolis and his family, who we have known for years before we moved here, called to see us and brought presents of figs that they had been ‘scrumping’.
Manolis is 78 and, although he is beginning to show it a little, he is still fantastically fit and healthy, walking and swimming like a much younger man. His son is a retired ex-policeman. It was lovely to see them. While we were outside talking, Apostolos, Moshka’s husband stopped to say, Hello as did Apostolos the taxi driver who keeps us supplied with fresh vegetables.
Went over to speak to Georgos at Hotel Delfini. I always forget what a beautiful view it is over there. It looks as if one is on a totally different island.
I’ve been steeling myself to tell you for a week or two. I am suffering badly from B.E.R.. It is not fatal but it is seriously disfiguring and incapacitating. Bottom or Blossom End Rot affects tomatoes and mine have got it.
It mainly comes from too much or too little water but is also due to mineral deficiency. The answer is a dose of Epsom Salts. Unfortunately, although I live only a few miles from Epsom in one life, in this other one I am thousands of miles away from a solution. Thank goodness that Apostolos calls most nights with tomatoes the size of footballs from his garden.
3rd August, 2013
The start of the Greek holidays – if they can afford it. We have been in our Sifnos house for fifteen weeks and have just nine left before we leave for Surrey. Another blustery day means we won’t be swimming today. We’re not in to torture.
Our neighbour, Apostelos, who works for the electricity company, dropped in for coffee on his way back from servicing generators near Xeronisos. He stayed for half an hour and it was a very useful conversation. He thinks his English is poor but he tries so hard to use it. He does really well no matter what his daughter says. Apostelos also made me feel very much better about my bottom problem. Bottom End Rot has been particularly prevalent on Sifnos this summer. They are blaming the plants. Thank goodness for that!
I’m finding the Third Test Match rather hard to listen to. I’m looking for Manchester rain to intervene for a couple of days. Premier League football restarts in a fortnight. I shall be enjoying it on OTE TV..