Week 332

3rd May, 2015

The quality of mercy is not strained;
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath.
It is twice blessed –
It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes.

Woke to light, refreshing rain washing the world which is shining with the electric green of the surrounding trees. We have had so little rain in the past three months, I found myself really appreciating it. Rain + lovely warmth = growth and burgeoning gardens. Haven’t seen those for years.

Did my first big session at the gym for a week because of our Yorkshire trip. It felt really good. Came home to roast chicken and roast vegetables and then watched Chelsea win the Championship while trying to read The Sunday Times. The Royal Baby and the General Election – the General Election and The Royal Baby only interspersed with items forecasting the demise of Greece. Love the papers!

4th May, 2015

Bank Holiday Monday – so much so that a number of banks are open to day. After an hour at the gym we have relaxed. Still and warm (20C/68F), we have been sitting and cooking outside. Grilled strips of pork with grilled vegetables. To start, we had home made Revithia – Chickpea soup. Actually, we were finishing off the traditionally Sunday soup which Pauline made for yesterday. We are still using bags of skinless, dried chickpeas which we bought in Mario‘s supermarket last summer.


5th May, 2015

It rained overnight and we’ve woken, once again, to a clean and vitalised new world. I’ve taken Pauline for her check-up at the hospital and the sun has come out but the car is only registering 14C/57F. This is the point where Greece moves away from us as a moratorium is placed on rain until September and sticky heat soon becomes the norm.

I suffer from atrial fibrillation and, last March, just as we were leaving for our European drive, my doctor prescribed Digoxin. It is a purified cardiac glycoside which slows the heart rate down. It’s related to Digitalis – the Foxglove.


Now the medical expertise on a Greek island like Sifnos, for anything other than a grazed knee, is almost non-existent. Pauline told me after she had done a little research that I shouldn’t take it until we got back to England and NHS support. By the time I got back here, my problem had sorted itself out (I wonder why!) and I didn’t need the drug. Imagine my relief when I read an article from The European Heart Journal which reported a study of studies in Germany which found that:

The research, involving more than 320,000 heart patients, showed an increased risk of death from any cause among those taking digoxin for congestive heart failure or, particularly, atrial fibrillation, compared with those not taking it.

AF or not, I’ve just returned, soaking in sweat, from a hard hour in the gym. Pauline’s griddling tuna steaks while I watch the election debate on WELFARE. You can’t beat it!

6th May, 2015

Sun and blustery showers today. We’ve got our next door neighbour, Colonel Wellington, coming round this afternoon for help with her accounts. First, I’ve got some correspondence to do and work on our own financial arrangements. I’ve also got a Health Club session this lunchtime to coincide with The Daily Politics – the last before the election. It’s going to be an exciting few days.

I read on a Greek blog the other day the view expressed that the demise of Greece has been predicted for at least seven years but it is still there. I agree with that but the position has never been so precarious as it is at the moment. It is threatening everything that Samaras had achieved. The economy is, once again, in downturn and that is forecast to continue through next year as well. The relations between government and EU could hardly be worse. One would think that it has to come to a head – or will they just carry on kicking the can down the road?

I swore I would never do it but I’ve caved in at last. The latest move towards healthy eating is to cut down on olive oil. We’ve taken receipt of an oil mister.


Filled with Greek olive oil, it sprays food with a fine mist which costs a small percentage of the calories we usually anoint our food with. Shame but it has to be done.

7th May, 2015

Early to the Polling Station this morning following the time old adage – Vote Early Vote Often! We had to grit our teeth because our polling station was in a Catholic Church but we forced ourselves for the sake of Marxism. Lovely day as we walked down the pleached larch avenue in the sunshine at 18C/65F to place our cross alongside None of the Above.

e1 e2 e3

We drove on to the real voting booths of life at Asda and Tesco. They are beginning to illustrate the true lessons of the tougher sales market by cutting back quite drastically on prices and stock. My coffee beans normally cost £13.50 per kilo bag. I usually buy 2 kilos each time at £27.00. Today and for the next two months, Tesco will sell them at £20.00 – a saving of around 35%. We eat lots of yoghurt for our sweet. For a few years we have bought Rachael’s low fat yoghurt.


Tesco no longer stock it. They may live to regret that decision if I’m not overstating my powers.

Went for my bi-annual blood test and was a bit shocked to find myself surrounded by boxes announcing Vaginal Speculum with Locking Nut. It wasn’t the vaginal part that worried me it was the ‘locking nut’ that sounded a bit scary. Anyway, the nice girl taking my blood sample reassured me that I wouldn’t be in danger and the whole procedure was over very quickly.

8th May, 2015

Well it’s been a long night – and day but the Nasty Party are back without their muzzle. It’s going to be a hard time for many poor people in Britain over the next 5 – maybe 10 – years. Greece lurches to the Left while Britain lurches to the Right. Both may be outside Europe before too long. I’m depressed!

At least I’m not a property owner in Greece anymore where huge tax increases are about to be loaded on to hotel bills and eating out. The rises will be particularly big on the islands. At the same time, electronic payments and records will force reluctant businesses to make all their transactions transparent and ones in which the tax is actually accounted for rather than pocketed. The Greek tourist industry believes this is killing the golden goose and they may well be right although that is no good reason to give them preferential treatment in these difficult times. It is all over the British and European papers which is not the best publicity. At the same time, Kathimerini reports today that:

Demand in the local housing market has dropped to almost zero and many Greeks are avoiding property purchases due to the high taxation involved, according to a survey carried out by the University of Macedonia for Skai TV. Additionally, a remarkable 37 % of citizens responded that they would not buy a residence even if they had the money for it

How fortunate do we feel!

9th May, 2015

A wonderful day to end the week. Warm – 21C/70F – and sunny and delightful. We have never seen the grounds where we live in May before. They are glorious and colourful and currently decorated by Lilac,  rhododendron and cytisus  or broom bushes. The nuns who used to live in these grounds certainly had good gardeners.

cytisus_broom lilac rhododendrons

I did my fifth hour in seven days at the Health Club and felt great after it. Pauline is at least a week away from managing light exercise so I’m still doing it alone. The upside of this is that I return to a beautifully prepared meal. Today it was basil & tomato soup followed by braised saddle of rabbit with mushrooms and shallots. Who could complain about that?

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