8th June, 2014
A warm day which reached 27C/81F. We were up at 6.00 am and drinking fresh orange juice and tea shortly after. Even Mother Cat took twenty minutes to shake sleep off , stretch and ask for food. After eight weeks of three meals a day, her coat is glossily healthy. She is constantly cleaning it. She must be one of the most fastidious, feral cats around.
Later, we went out to Café Prago to meet an important friend and hear their news. The coffee there is excellent and the view even better. While we were there, two elderly Americans approached us and asked if we spoke English. Of course, I instantly replied, of course even better than Americans. They were intent on setting out to walk to Kastro and wanted to know the direction. They were in their 70s and we advised them that it would be a long, hot walk. They set off all the same.
Half an hour later, we were walking to our car when shuffling into sight came the two Americans. It was too hot and too far. They were going to get a bus back to Kamares. We took them in the car and we got their life stories and how they’d met only in the past three or four years when each other’s partners had died. They seemed delighted to be chauffeured home and insisted we take their email addresses and write to them.
Back home, we did the last of the garden clearing – an hour and a half did it. In that heat, it was enough. We have now completely cleared the first three levels and accompanying bankings. I’ve really enjoyed it and it has made me feel fitter and lighter.
Roast leg of pork for our meal. It was delicious but my appetite is so reduced, after a few mouthfuls, I was full.
I watched a dreadful 0-0 draw between England and Honduras and then Nadal beat Djokovic in the Final of the French Open.
9th June, 2014
An ultimately hot day which started off a little overcast and cool but soon got into it’s stride. I think it only reached 26C/79F but it felt very sticky and humid. It is a national holiday here just as Whit Monday used to be in Britain.
We did some house cleaning and tidying having finished in the grounds. We had a simple meal of cold, roast pig – which was delicious – with a Waldorf salad and avocado slices. It is wonderful to be able to buy really good celery here at last. In previous years it has always been dry and stringy. Now it’s up to Sainsbury’s standard!
For non-Greek speakers, there is not so much on TV to grab our interest. However, the much derided NERIT replacement for NET, the national channel, buys in BBC programmes. We have been enjoying two:
Silk – a drama about life at the Bar
and The Hour which is set in the 1950s of our childhood and is a drama about a nascent news programme on that new contraption called television.
It deals with some of the big, political stories of the day along with other social comment. Silk finishes tonight. The Hour has a few more nights to run. Thank goodness for the World Cup!
10th June, 2014
Happy Birthday to Colin who is 78 today. Commiserations to Phyllis who still has to pole dance for him.
Up at 6.00 am on a hot – 27C/81F – and sticky day. We went out to the café and then to meet with the Notary. We have finished clearing the ground outside and have set about tidying the house inside. Today we decided to reward ourselves by going out to lunch. We drove down to Vathi Bay. It is lovely and peaceful there although they had a fair few tourists in residence today. We went to our favourite tavern where the man who served us hadn’t been born when we first went there 28 years ago. Tsikali Taverna has long been a favourite of ours.
We had a Greek Salad, a huge plate of roast cod in lemon and olive oil sauce and a half litre of white wine. The bill was just 18.00€/£14.50. Wonderful. The later day reached 28-29C/82-84F and was uncomfortable.
11th June, 2014
Hot and windless morning. We had an early meeting with the Notary after breakfast. About 10.30 am, we went to the café for a frappe and then to the supermarket for a bit of shopping. Sound a bit desultory? It is! I felt a bit lost having finished all my jobs. We were saved by a phone call from our special friend but this afternoon I just had a snooze which is unheard of these days.
The one big plus today was that my trousers didn’t fall down. Pauline bought me two, new pairs of trousers in early April just before we came away. They were fine but a little on the tight side. In the time we have been in Greece, I have lost 4″/8cm from my waist and I recently had to keep my hands in my trouser pockets to avoid an embarrassing situation developing. Today, Pauline put tucks on both sides and one on the back of the waistband. Should get me through until October now.
12th June, 2014
The temperature peaked at 29C/84F yesterday. Today it has been a couple of degrees down as the breeze is intermittently blustery. It is about six weeks since we began ground clearing and some green weeds have begun to appear in the areas where we started. I brought 5 gallons of glyphosphate with me and we have spent the morning spraying all the recalcitrant weeds.
They will be gone in just over a week and won’t be back this year. I don’t want you to get too excited, Dear Reader, but we then completely tidied out the Garage and took five bags of rubbish to the tip. Mother Cat couldn’t believe the change in her domain. She was so shocked, she needed a bumper bowl of Italian Salmon in Beef Gravy to recover. However, she did manage it before slinking off into the undergrowth to go a-catting!
Friday, 13th June, 2014
Hot day today which reached 29C/84F at peak. Up fairly early, downloaded and read the newspaper then went down to check for yesterday’s post. We share a box with our special friend and there was just a card for us from Margaret who worked for Pauline for about five years in school as Head of Special Needs. She has gone on to do a bigger job in a central Government initiative in the five years since we retired and is close to retirement herself. Her daughter had a baby last winter and we took presents round. Today we got a card thanking us for the thought. That was nice.
Went out to Heronissos for a trip and really enjoyed it. So peaceful and empty.
Two other tourists arrived just as we were leaving. One wonders how the local infrastructure copes with such intensity. We had a walk, thought about eating but it was too early so drove slowly home. Pauline cooked Octopus for a salad which also included cold kippers and green, sliced beans in and oil and lemon dressing. Just before we ate, our special friend phoned us from a pedicure in Athens to make sure all our arrangements were going well. That was nice.
14th June, 2014
Mother Cat exhibited domesticated characteristics not expected of a wild (feral) cat last night. As we sat on the patio and long after she had been fed for the third time that day –she’d had octopus bits left over from the salad Pauline had cooked, Italian Salmon with Beef Gravy and dried Chicken nuggets to the point when she must have been bursting – Mother Cat came right up to us and began to chat. We were amazed because she is normally so scared. It wasn’t much of a structured chat. It sort of went: Pu-uss / Cry, Pu-uss / Cry Cry, Cry Cry / Pu-uss. I may not have recorded it verbatim but you will get the gist. She stayed until we went in and then slept on the patio chairs until morning call for Breakfast.
I watched the fantastic win by Holland over Spain last night with van Persie’s brilliant, headed first goal that started the onslaught. Of, course, I would expect nothing less of a Man. Utd player.
The temperature last night was perfect for sleep and we woke at 6.30 am very refreshed. Our old friend, Giannis the plumber, is coming to service the compressor attached to our water system. He does this every summer, pumping the water out and fresh air in to maintain a smooth water pressure. It takes minutes, he refuses money and the system works perfectly.
As the day has developed, the temperature has reached 29C/84F. We reached a momentous decision. It is time for our first swim of the season. Last year, we waited until July 1st but today feels absolutely right and so it proved. The water was warm and delicious for 45 mins vigorous exercise. Afterwards, Pauline cooked tarragon chicken with roasted vegetables (onion, mushroom, tomato and pepper). It was wonderful and eaten to the sound of rifle volleys over the valley as the marriage of Young Simos was launched and celebrated. Tonight, we will go to bed at 10.00 pm and the alarm will ring at 1.00 pm for me to watch the England match against Italy. After that result, I probably won’t need to watch any more England matches but you never know.