20th July, 2014
Up at 6.00 am Central European Time (7.00 am Greek Time & 5.00 am UK Time) and just had a glass of orange juice. Went down to the pool for a vigorous half hour swim. Can you believe it? We were the only ones there. Swimming was wonderful under the glass canopy and, as we did, a torrential rain storm passed over. Back to our room for showers and a cup of tea. Now Pauline is packing while I down load The Sunday Times to my iPad.
We will leave for Calais soon at about 10.00 am. Although the rain has stopped and the temperature is about 24C/72F, the roads will be still wet and the French reduce speed limits in that condition. Wet motorways are limited down from 130kmh/80mph to 110kmh/70mph and there have been so many reports in UK newspapers of French police targeting speeding British drivers in a revenue raising operation particularly on the A26/E17 so it will be cruise control set to the speed limit and a gentle drive to the coast.
Arrived in Calais at 1.30 pm. Checked in to our Executive room which was enormous. Went for a walk around the eight acres of gardens and then came back in to watch the British Open Golf Championship. Booked a table for Dinner at 7.00 pm.
The meal tonight was:
- Chicken & Asparagus Tart
- Medley of fish – Salmon, Scallops, Cod & Shrimps in Mornay Sauce
- Plum, Apricot & Raspberry Tart with Chantilly Cream
- Chilled Sauvignon Blanc
Absolutely wonderful end to our European adventure for this summer. And Rory McIlroy won as well. Good weekend!
21st July, 2014
Up at 6.30 am, showered and dressed. Down to breakfast at 7.30 am. (We can’t eat much more and are desperate to go back on our diets,) By 9.00 am, we’re off to Auchan for weekend shop – lots of fish including huge crevettes, cod steaks, salmon steaks and Sea Bream, lots of meat including duck joints and breasts, pork joints and rabbit, lots of wonderful salad vegetables and glorious fruit. We loaded only four boxes of wine because we will be back here in about a week when we have more space in the car. We did buy Pauline two more pairs of shoes from the shop she had bought from before. We also bought two pairs for Elerania because she so admired Pauline’s.
The temperature in Coquelles was 22C/70F as we drove down to the tunnel terminus at 11.00 am and, as soon as we drove off in Kent, it rose to 25C/77F. It was distinctly muggy. An hour and a half later we were back in Surrey and it felt as if we had never been away. Since leaving the island, we had driven 1238 miles/1993 km and 3313 miles/5331 km since leaving our apartment in April. After three hours, Pauline had unpacked everything, I had gone through fifteen week’s post, listened to all our phone messages including three from our Special Friend and two from Elerania, phoned Sky TV to reinstate our Satellite/Phone/Broadband deal which has been reduced by £40.00 per month while we’ve been away and watched the final over of the Test which England lost.
22nd July, 2014
Up at 5.00 am (7.00 am Greek Time) after being woken by the birds. We had slept with all the windows open (without the need for insect nets) because of the temperature. We didn’t realise how wonderful our Development looks in mid-summer. This is just a quickly snatched photo:
By 7.00 am, we had drunk fresh orange juice, tea and were firing up our coffee maker for the first cup in four months of really good, fresh coffee. We have a list of jobs longer than all four of our arms including:
- Have the car valeted
- Sign back on at the Health Club
- Visit Phyllis & Colin
- Do on-line banking
- Check and reallocate ISAs
- Pay the Window Cleaner
- Book return tunnel tickets to France for next week
- Catch up on correspondence
- Search out local Pick Your Own farms.
We think we might try this one. We’ve bought meat from them before and the quality is excellent.
Excellent meal of tomato & Basil salad with gorgeous, giant langoustines in garlic oil. To accompany this on a day of 27C/81F, we drank a chilled bottle of Chenin Blanc. Can I get those letters and emails done? We’ll see.
Just been reviewing our hotels across Europe which were generally very favourable. Booking.com and Expedia requested our views. I quite got a taste for it. There are a fair few Sifnos hotels I’d like to review as well.
23rd July, 2014
Up at 6.30 am today so getting better already. Beautiful summer’s day with clear blue skies and an overnight temperature of 22C/70F which is forecast to rise to 28C/82F during the day. We are going to a PYOF – a Pick Your Own farm. In fact, we might go to two. Unfortunately, we’ve missed asparagus for this year but strawberries, raspberries, black currants and gooseberries are currently being picked along with so many vegetables that we couldn’t eat or store them all.
Booked a return trip to France next week to buy wine and do some more shopping. Booking.com and Expedia have both emailed me to say thank you for all the Reviews and saying they have entitled me to 10% off all future bookings through them. I shall certainly keep writing Hotel reviews!
We signed back on at the Health Club yesterday so we will try to fit in a couple of hours this afternoon. There is so much to do!
It was a glorious morning down on the PYO farm. We picked 2.5 kilos of strawberries, about the same of raspberries, 3 kilos (podded weight) of broad beans which we love and about 2 kilos of French beans. We also bought lovely looking pork joints from the farm shop without having to kill our own pig! We drove back to our home, calling in at Phyllis & Colin’s house on the way to give them half of our fruit. The are both very old and wrinkly and can’t get out much so we thought they’d appreciate the help.
24th July, 2014
Another gorgeous day. The Met. Office are predicting roaring hot temperatures and sunshine well into the middle of August. It will be our first summer in UK for 17 years and it may well be the hottest on record. At least we won’t get the dreadful heatwaves of Greece this year.
As well as driving around Europe, we intend to start flying to cities again. For example, we intend to spend a few days in Bologna soon. Right on cue, a facility has been upgraded on our Private Banking Account. Priority Pass entitles us to enter and use the facilities of all the airports’ Executive Lounges – internet and fax, free refreshments, fast track check-in and boarding, etc.. It also allows us to get away from the general hubbub of the airport.
For example, when we fly to Athens in the winter, we can use all four Executive Lounges –
- Aristotle Onassis Lounge
- Swissport Executive Lounge
- Melina Merkouri Lounge
- Goldair CIP Lounge
I can see us making good use of this.
Did an hour at the Health Club this morning – the first for almost four months. We had intended to swim at the end but we were so shattered that we came home and devoured a huge bowl of strawberries and raspberries. Pauline has spent the afternoon researching new properties in Kent/Sussex area. We are not in a hurry and have specific requirements. It must be new-build. We want four bedrooms, separate Kitchen, Utility, Living room and, preferably, double Garage. We would like two of the bedrooms to have en suites plus a family bathroom. It must have good, fast broadband and be fully cabled for satellite television. Pauline would quite like a Conservatory but it is not a deal-breaker. We don’t want to spend much more than £500,000. One of our projects is to identify possible areas and drive down to explore their possibilities.
This style of house quite appeals to us both and can be purchased well within our budget. This particular one is just north of Ashford in Kent.
My friend on Paros has been waving to me again. Even in Surrey I can see him standing and waving from Aghia Anna. If we move further South, he will come even more in to view. Next Spring/Summer we will be much freer to travel – Sifnos/Paros – Poros/Skiathos. Perhaps I can meet up with fellow Bloggers who have felt like friends for so long.
25th July, 2014
A very full day. Up at 6.30 am and out at the supermarket by 8.00 am. Unfortunately, we found that it is a popular time with pensioners. They see it as a social event and idle down the aisles chatting as they go. We had a pre-prepared list and tried to do it all in less than an hour. We were going to go to have the car cleaned but time ran out. Back out to the Pick your Own farm for 10.00 am. We picked another three kilos of raspberries and strawberries and bought some ice cream. Fig & sherry was our favourite although we also liked Belgian chocolate flavour.
Next, we were off to the Health Club for an hour’s exercise although the pool was out of commission today. Back home for fruit and a little blob of ice cream. Talking of little blobs, I’m quite missing the Poison Dwarf! Did some correspondence. Heard from Elerania today and wrote back. Also wrote a letter to Emmanuella & John. Sorted out some annual travel insurance and began to search out hotels for a trip to Wells-next-the-Sea in Norfolk and Bologna in Italy.
Very humid and warm – 28C/82F – but much hotter in the sun as we picked fruit. Suddenly at 2.30 pm, the heavens opened announced by bright flashes of lightning and huge claps of thunder. Almost like Greece, the downpour was soon over and the sun came out again as if nothing had happened. Everything smelled wonderful and fresh.
26th July, 2014
After an early breakfast of fresh orange juice and tea, we set about booking the future with a will. First, we booked three nights in Walsingham near to Wells-next-the-Sea where Pauline spent many happy childhood holidays.
Next we booked our annual pilgrimage to Yorkshire/Lancashire in October. We will spend three nights there. Now we have to fit a trip to Bologna in before Christmas.
After a supermarket shop and a trip to Phyllis & Colin, we were exhausted. We will go back to the Health Club on Monday. This afternoon I have completed communications with Elerania, Emmanuella, Brian, Little Viv and Margaret & Tony. They have all been despatched and we are going to turn our attention to other matters.