Week 330

19th April, 2015

Pleasant, sunny day but with a little chilly edge on the breeze. After a hard hour in the gym, I worked out that I’ve done 6 hours work in the past 8 days and used 3600 calories which is 2 days’ food allowance for me.

Here, with 18  days to go until our General Election poll, Labour is starting to nose in front although no one is likely to get an overall majority. It is making parties’ election pledges and voter decisions difficult. Who can you trust to implement their proposals? Who should you vote for to keep the others out? It’s all very difficult.

It’s beginning to look nigh on impossible in Greece. Most European partners are preparing for Greek default. The first signs will be credit controls on Greek Banks but the medium term will be the definitive impoverishment of the Greek people with massive devaluation and equally massive inflation. Those who argue casually in the cafes and coffee shops about the merits of being in the euro just won’t believe what’s hit them if they fall out of the zone.

20th April, 2015

Lovely, warm and sunny day with clear blue skies – 21C/70F. It is impossible to go anywhere around here without noticing the blossom. It is so outstanding.

blossom2

We sat outside for a few hours and started to plan our trip for next week. It is the next stage on Pauline’s recovery before we set off for Europe. We are going to Yorkshire for four or five days. We will visit old friends and research our alternative house-buying possibility. We have narrowed our search down to two, entirely separate areas. Our first choice is in Sussex and we hope to return there this week. Our second choice, where a house will save us around £200,000.00, is Yorkshire within reasonably easy reach of Leeds. This is what we will visit next week. One has the climate the other has the economy. Choices, choices!

In the mean time, I have done another hour/600 cals. of exercise today. I’m just getting too fit for my own good. Jane B.G. has got no chance of catching me.

21st April, 2015

Certainly another lovely day. They’re so enjoyable when you’re retired. We’ve decided that Pauline will manage a trip to Yorkshire next week so we sat in the sun to plan a four day break. We are looking for a new house and have narrowed our search down to Sussex or Yorkshire. Unfortunately, the same house in Yorkshire can be £200,000 less than the identical one in Sussex. At the same time, the climate in Sussex is noticeably more pleasant. Such a dilemma!

After yet another hour at the gym, we griddled fish outside with vegetables. There is something different – enhanced – about cooking outside. They don’t do so much of that in Yorkshire.

22nd April, 2015

In spite of her discomfort, I took Pauline to town to have her hair cut. We also called at our mobile providers, EE, to collect our Power Bar which cleverly stores enough power to recharge a mobile phone.

eepower

Many companies charge around £25.00 but ours is giving them away freely to contract customers. You recharge it via a USB connection to a computer/laptop or iPad charging plug. If it is empty when you need it, you can just go in to the nearest EE shop and get a charged replacement. This is the answer to  electric cars – swap a spent battery for a forecourt charged battery. The battery fitting would have to be snap-in-snap-out. It could be quicker than filling a full tank with petrol. I’m spotting a gap in the market here!

23rd April, 2015

There is a serious possibility of the sky, imminently, falling in on Greece and its islands. They have a series of increasingly sizable debts to repay to the IMF and the ECB over the next three months. The Times this morning headlines: Greeks face bankruptcy as cash runs out for wages and pensions and goes on:

Greece will go bust next week, potentially pushing the highly indebted country into default and out of the eurozone and plunging the European Union into an unprecedented crisis. The head of the Greek treasury admitted yesterday that the government could not pay its bills, including the salaries and pensions of millions of public sector workers that are due at the end of the month.

To avoid default, Athens must pay the despised creditors of the International Monetary Fund and the eurozone before its own citizens. Such an outcome would be deeply humiliating for the leftist government, elected on the pledge to put Greeks first. Dimitris Mardas, the deputy finance minister, said the treasury coffers were €400 million short of the €1.9 billion needed to honour payroll obligations to state employees. “We have been running on empty since February.

The Greek government and Press are almost certainly not telling their population the full truth about how much they are having to rob Peter to pay Paul but the islands are already starting to see and be surprised by the unusually early visits of IKA (tax & employment) inspectors. It’s certainly no dream on Symi. The Blog, Keep Talking Greece, reports:

Greece’s Economy Minister Giorgos Stathakis has warned that Greece did not have the resources to repay two loans to the European Central Bank loans, amounting to some €7.6 billion, which fall due next July and August. However he underlined that a Greek default on loans to International Monetary Fund was out of question.

What this means is that the big trouble could be put off until the most sensitive point of the year – peak tourist season. This is when financial controls could hit hoteliers, café/restaurant owners, ferry schedules, etc.. Moving money in and out of the country will be the first control but collapse of infrastructure and travel arrangements will not be far behind.

24th April, 2015

Warm but hazy for much of the day. Pauline had her first post-operative Doctor’s check up. As the doctor confirmed, it is taking a bit longer to get back to normal than we had hoped and had been led to expect. We still expect to make our trip to Yorkshire but we will take things easy – as you can when you’re retired.

Yesterday was St George’s Day – the Englander’s day. In Scotland, Ireland and, particularly, Greece, the national day is a big thing but, as an Englishman, I just can’t raise any interest in England or England Day. Maybe because of the General Election coverage, there was a half hearted attempt to acknowledge the day and St George’s flag but not much.

flagG

On reflection, I’m quite proud to be so English that I don’t need to assert and reaffirm it. I am much more confident identifying myself as a European.

25th April, 2015

We woke to find it had rained. How wonderful! How delicious the grass and trees looked – refreshed and sparkling. It is weeks since we saw rain. The forecast is for more in the coming days. Even so, it is still extremely warm.

Yesterday was the Name Day of our Sifnos bank manager, Georgia, and today we have a photo of Eleraniatown:

kastro

Can’t wait to see them again!