Week 287

22nd June, 2014

Up at 6.30 am and, before the cat could get her stomach in gear, we went out down to the dustbin drop to get rid of a smelly bag. This hot weather makes them turn very quickly. At that time in the morning, it was 22C/70F and before the sun was up so that was probably the mean, overnight number. It certainly still feels very comfortable for sleeping.

I’ve probably written about this before so stop me if I’m boring you but sleeping is something which has always interested me. For forty years while we were working, Pauline and I would rise at 6.00 am and just after 7.00 am, after a shower and a cup of tea, drive from Yorkshire where we lived over the Pennines to Lancashire where we worked. Bedtime for me was generally midnight. Six hours sleep was enough. Now retired, our friends expect us to catch on sleep. What’s the need to be up?  I say that I never want to get like that. On the day we retired, I asked Pauline to kick me out of bed no later than 7.00 am and she has duly obliged every day for the past five years. We make the early mornings as productive as we can, getting jobs done while we are energetic. You’re a long time dead. Make the most of your waking hours!

By 8.00 am, we were on our way to Café Prago and to a meeting with our friend, the Notary’s husband after a phone call from Milos to arrange it. At the café, this little chap came over to make friends.


The temperature had climbed to 27C/81F by 10.00 am. We’ve come home to catch up on the Sunday newspapers, water some trees and bushes and then go for a swim. The water is wonderful and crystal clear. By 2.00 pm, the temperature is 30C/86F and swimming is all we want to do. Later, Pauline cooks steak &  grilled vegetables in a red wine reduction sauce. Wonderful!

23rd June, 2014

A bit breezier and fresher this morning although we are expecting 28C/82F by afternoon. Apart from a swim, we are spending a quiet day at home catching up on emails, watering trees and bushes and reading the papers.

Today’s Times carries this front page and this page 5:

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Before the fund HS2 at a potential £46bn, the Tories are proposing to build HS3 to save 25 mins travelling time between Manchester & Leeds. At the same time, cutting back the NHS which only needs £2bn. The High Speed rail lines will be absolutely inrrelevant by 2030 when they’re finished because superfast digital links will just make that sort of travel largely needless and yet the health of the nation will suffer. And proposals are being put forward to charge £10.00 for visits to the doctor. The world has gone mad!

24th June, 2014

A lovely summer’s day – 26F/79F at 9.30 am – with a pleasant breeze. We are in our eleventh week on the island and had to go up to the Elinoil station to fill up the car for only the third time this year. It cost 90€/£72.00 but is was very empty. The owner of the petrol station and his family are quite delightful people. Father gave us the bill and then a bag of 16 fresh eggs from his own chickens which he was pleased to point out were all date-stamped. Actually, each one had the date of collection written on in biro but it was his little joke.


As we left, he said, watch NERIT (the new Government backed channel) at 1.00 pm today. Apostolos is playing his bouzouki, This is his son, a lovely lad who is about to go off to college to train as a car mechanic but plays beautifully and, until recently, had a pet grouse called ‘Famous’ which he kept in a box. We must time our swim so as not to miss it.

Actually, we decided we didn’t have time for a swim on Sifnos. Nikiforos called with his taxi just after 1.00 pm and took us down to the port. We had an interesting discussion while waiting for Speedrunner with an American diplomat from Washington DC and his Russian wife who teaches Russian geopolitics in the local university. We had booked VIP Class and it was quite delightful. The taxi from Piraeus to our hotel –  the 5* Electra Palace in Plaka – cost just 20.00€ and we were soon out to eat at one of our favourite roadside tavernas.

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We were tired and went to bed about 11.00 am but woke up dry at around 3.30 am and we made a cup of tea. Flicking the channels on the TV, we came across Apostelos from the petrol station playing his balalaika in a repeat of the lunchtime show.

25th June, 2014

Already a warm 27C/81F and still. Swimming and little else will be the order of the day. Actually, we managed to get an hour and a half walk in after breakfast and before the thermometer showed a warm 38C/101F. Didn’t stay up for the Greek match last night but it was lovely to see it this morning re-played over and over again – particularly the last five minutes. Pleased Samaras was the scorer. He’s almost British now anyway.

Of course, we had picked the four warmest days of the year so far in Athens. It was just too hot to swim in the rooftop pool so we used the indoor, air-conditioned gym and pool. It was totally deserted apart from the Beauticians doing pedicure/manicure/massage and general pampering. We did about an hour of exercise to make up for the smoked salmon and scrambled egg breakfast.

26th June, 2014

‘Phew, what a scorcher!’ will probably be today’s headline. It is 11.00 am and already 32C/90F. We don’t have a lot planned apart from swimming. The newspapers are full of jokes about Suarez going out for an Italian and the Snickers advert which they say is tastier than an Italian. I feel sorry for Liverpool. They were denied the Championship at the last gasp and now may lose their top striker for months. The lad is mad. Why doesn’t he eat sensibly?

Pauline has been out this morning to the hairdressers – Michalis Anousakis salon- which is just across the street from our hotel. Later, we brave the heat to walk to Psiri district.

Talking about eating. We’ve gone fish mad recently. Baby fresh squid on Tuesday followed by grilled sea bass yesterday and grilled salmon today. No wonder we’re doing so much swimming. Anyway, the temperature has reached 40C/104F. There are a lot of very red faced tourists wandering aimlessly around. Fortunately, we are not in that class. While we are having Dinner, the Notary phones to confirm some news we were waiting for. We have agreed to meet with her on Saturday.

27th June, 2014

A lazy morning of breakfast, newspapers, swimming and packing. A taxi arrives to take us down to the port of Piraeus for just before 4.00 pm. We go straight on board and into air-conditioned VIP seats for a glass of wine and some peanuts. Back on Sifnos, Nikiforos is waiting for us to whisk us home. Mother Cat arrives immediately and reproachfully devours two day’s worth of Beefy chunks with a hint of salmon. She then proceeds to talk to us for half an hour as if she’s missed us. We feel terrible but there’s probably worse to come.

28th June, 2014

Mother Cat was so insecure after being left for four days that she stayed close all night.  This morning, she was sleeping on my dining chair on the patio when we got up just before 7.00 am and after two helpings of her favourite dried food – salmon flavour – she went back on to the patio wall to enjoy the early morning breeze in her fur. I photographed her through the insect net which degrades the picture rather:


Off to do the week’s shopping, get some photocopying done and meet the Notary. Later, we will have a swim. The days are so hard!

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