Week 315

4th January, 2015

Lovely, sunny day. We have spent it quietly reading the newspapers which are full of Royal indiscretions – lovely to see Airmiles Andy getting his comeuppance -, the starting pistol being fire on the Health versus Wealth election and the dire state of Europe. Sport has been centred on FA Cup. Its famed romance is rather lost on me.

5th January, 2015

How the time is flying past – measured in olive oil consumption. We brought 3 x 5 Ltr. cans of olive oil from our favourite supermarket on Sifnos when we left in July. The oil is Pauline’s favourite for cooking and for salads. Today, we are opening the final can.


Will it last until we return or will we have to survive on a French/Italian substitute? It will certainly be cheaper this year whether Greece is still in the Euro or not. Today, the Euro fell to its lowest point for nine years. Reversion to the Drachma would depreciate Greek products still further. Yesterday, the Germans said they were prepared to cut Greece adrift and although there is a huge slice of posturing in that threat, there is also a strong thread of reality running through it.

6th January, 2015

The oil price fell below $50.00 per barrel today as OPEC refused to cut production and a slow down in global energy consumption is leading to excess supply. In purely parochial terms, our pump price for unleaded petrol fell to £1.09/€1.38 per litre. We filled the car and had a £0.14/€0.18 discount so paying £0.95/€1.21 per litre. The cost of filling our tank has fallen by about £15.00/€19.10 or 25% in the past three months. Better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick!

Made the mistake of teasing my sister, Jane BG, about her weight. Well she is enormous. She retaliated by trying to get me into a x-country race – 5K or 10K – sometime soon. My Doctor says I can only accept the challenge if she is prepared to fund the funeral expenses. Knowing her, she probably is.

7th January, 2015

Haven’t really seen any snow for the past three years since we moved down to Surrey. Haven’t really experienced much cold weather either. All so different from our life in Yorkshire and so different from Greece where snow has closed some schools today and could be found on the beaches of Crete. Sifnos had some wet snow, friends tell us. Not the place to be in the Winter! There aren’t many houses with underfloor heating. Below is a picture of Crete yesterday:


Rather them than me.

8th January, 2015

A lovely, sunny day which was twice as warm as Athens and the Greek islands. Tinos is so badly blanketed in snow that they are in their third day without power which largely controls heating and water pumps. Fancy a holiday? Try the Yorkshire-Lancashire Pennines. They are green when compared to Tinos.


Felt a bit under the weather myself so we didn’t do a Health Club session but we were out at 7.00 am for an INR test at the walk-in centre. I test myself once each week which is just as well because my next ‘official’ test is in six weeks.

9th January, 2015

The weather really is topsy-turvy still. We have another beautiful day with temperatures double those of Greece. 14C/57F against 7C/44F and, believe me, that can feel deadly cold on Sifnos where creature comforts are lacking. This is a photograph taken today up above our ex-house on the island of Sifnos. It was sent to me by a friend. Skiing holidays in Sifnos. I can think of one or two people that I’d like to send on that.


Felt better today so skipped around Sainsbury’s but didn’t go to the Health Club. Might try to squeeze a session in on Sunday.

With Winter – a dead time for house sales – being followed by a General Election which is commonly acknowledged to engender uncertainty and put off house buyers further, the housing market is forecast to be flat over the main part of 2015 although it may flourish in the Autumn. Therefore, we don’t expect to be moving anytime soon. Because of that, I have decided to grasp the nettle and address the ‘superfast broadband’ issue and then use it as a selling point. We have a tri-partite package of television, telephone and broadband supply from Sky. I have resolved to ask them to upgrade our broadband to fibre optic which will take us from circa 6Mbs to 76Mbs. It will cost only about £10.00 per month extra and give us much better service for a Desktop, two laptops, two iPads, two smart phones and two wireless televisions.

10th January, 2015

So warm this morning we had all the windows and doors open to freshen up the house. Suddenly realised after an hour that everything was still open to quite to a freshening breeze. At 9.00 am it was 13C/56F which is pleasant for mid-January.

I can’t believe how shocked and slightly emotional I felt this morning when I opened a Blog I have been reading daily for some three or four years. The Skiathan’s Blog has been a source of familiarity and friendship however remotely. The horrible thing is that Ian and his wife, Kamila, have had the equilibrium of their family torpedoed by every family’s nightmare. Cancer! I have never met them but it is no less shocking. They are clearly very nice people and, as is so often observed, bad things always seem to seek out nice people. Ian has announced his intention to stop blogging and concentrate on helping his wife through her crisis.


His reaction is completely understandable. In times of crisis, we tend to look inwards. There are many, not least me, who will miss him and hope he will reconsider in time. Sharing your thoughts, emotions, concerns with others, however tenuously, can be cathartic, even useful. I am spending my day today with the Skiathan in my head and I wish him and his family so much good fortune. They certainly need it and, I think, deserve it. I look forward to see him on-line again soon with news.

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