Week 339

21st June, 2015

The longest day of the year – the Summer Solstice. It has been a bright, warm (rather oppressive) day quite typical of summer in Surrey. We both did an hour’s exercise in the gym after reading the Sunday papers.

Pauline slow cooked chicken in lemon, garlic and white wine and served it with roasted, peppers, fennel, asparagus and shallot. We are expecting another viewing tomorrow evening so the house has to be tidied. At 8.00 pm, Sainsburys are delivering ‘for free’ with an additional £8.00 discount all the heavy things we didn’t want to lug ourselves – Packs of sparkling water, giant bottles washing detergent, bleach, etc.. It’s good of them, isn’t it?


As the Greek crisis edges ever nearer to the precipice, The Sunday Times reports:

gb2 gb1

One of the many bloggers I monitor daily reports:

I hope a decision will be made so people can start thinking about tomorrow. Here on Skopelos I know firsthand that people have cancelled their holiday, others only want to pay for services with a card to keep the cash. People have taken their money out of the banks but there is still money in the atm’s.

And yet, one has the feeling that the Greeks, deus ex machine, will pull it off. Either way, it’s going to be a nightmare for years to come. As we move almost to the anniversary of our selling the house on Sifnos, we cannot stop reflecting on our great good fortune at escaping this sorry place.

22nd June, 2015

It rained over night and there is some light rain lingering this morning. I’m tired because I woke at 4.00 am and it was so light outside, I couldn’t get back to sleep until I put the radio on and the Shipping Forecast did the trick.

We’ve got a fifth viewing of our property this evening and are going out to exercise at mid day. Tomorrow is forecast to be hot and sunny and we are off to the South coast to look at some new properties.

Although the news from the Greek front is rather more optimistic this morning, this is the headline on the front of the Daily Express and the clever cartoon in The Times:

express tcart

23rd June, 2015

We’ve got another property viewing at mid day so Pauline & I are going to the Health Club and leaving the tour to the Estate Agents. The morning has started mild but overcast. It is forecast to get better as the day and week goes on.

It looks like Europe will do its regular thing of kicking the can down the road in the hope that something will turn up. It will mean years more pain for the Greeks in the form of much bigger tax increases on much lower earnings. I checked prices on a Sifnos hotel this morning – not that I would stay there. It is old and the road noise outside is horrendous but three nights at the start of September are selling at Hotel Kamari on Booking.com for £76.00 including ‘free wi-fi’. In my view, it’s still not worth £25.00 per night but there can’t be much profit for the owners in that! At the same time, the proposed settlement with Europe includes:

VAT on food service up to 23 %

  • abolishing the special status granted to Aegean islands (with a 30 % discount on VAT rates).
  • an extraordinary levy of 12 % on 2014 business  profits, in two installments, one this year and one in 2016.
  • a hike in corporate tax from 26 to 29 %, concerning the nearly 15,000 companies with pre-tax earnings of at least €100,000 per year.
  • an increase in the solidarity levy for households earning at least €30,000 per year.
  • the luxury tax increases from 10 to 13 % on things like swimming pools and big cars.
  • against all hopes, the single property tax (ENFIA) will remain intact, while farmers will see significant tax hikes in their costs.

24th June, 2015

A lovely summer’s day – warm and sunny. We were out early on our way to St Peter’s Hospital in Woking. Pauline is having a CT scan. As we park and enter the delightfully new hospital corridors we are met by five separate members of staff from desk staff, porters in lifts, orderlies and nurses all who spontaneously welcomed us and offered to take us to our destination. We couldn’t have been better treated if we were in private medicine. Pauline’s appointment was for 9.30 am but she was seen earlier. I stayed in the waiting room with ‘free wi-fi’ reading my paper. There were only two others there. I got talking to an ‘oldish’ lady who seemed to be accompanying her husband who was also having a scan. He struggled to walk to the scanning room. I asked her, rudely, how old she was.

She said, I’m 96. He’s my son. I used to run a café in Kingston until 6 years ago.

She was fantastic for her age. In fact, she was fantastic for my age! She lifted my spirits completely. We have been to too many hospitals and to see too many doctors in the past five years. It’s got to stop. Having said that, I have to go for my INR test tomorrow and to see the ophthalmologist in Ashford Hospital on Friday.

While we were in the Hospital, I received a call on my mobile from the estate agent selling our property. The viewer yesterday expressed a desire to buy our home and wants to bring his wife for a second viewing. This is a positive development and comes just short of the anniversary of selling our Greek home. The auguries are good. They are not good for the Greek people though as Kathimerini reports:


25th June, 2015

A wonderful, wonderful day. Hot and sunny – 25C/77F – with blue skies and white, fleecy clouds. We were up at 6.00 am and outside the Woking-Walk in Medical Centre by an early 6.45 am for an official INR test. That done, we set off for the south coast.


Angmering was our first stop. It took about an hour to get there. The developers’ office had a temporary notice pinned up saying they would not be open until 2.00 pm which was annoying but gave us the chance to visit various amenities we wanted to check out. Angmering Medical Centre with its attached Pharmacy was very reassuring







and then the Virgin Active Health Club at nearby Rustington was very pleasing. Lots of equipment and not too busy. The David Lloyd Health Club on the outskirts of Worthing looks good too.

trip2 trip3

We found the Sainsbury’s Superstore at Rustington, the Waitrose and the Asda stores. We found a handy Dentist surgery. By the time we hjad done all that, it was time to go back to the site office of the house builders. We were back at our home before rush hour traffic.

26th June, 2015

A Landmark day! Hot and humid, our temperature peaked at 28C/82F. We did a shop at Sainsbury’s which totalled £105.00 but cost us nothing again. We had £5.00 cash-back and payed the rest in vouchers. At 1.00 pm, we left for Ashford Hospital for my Diabetic Retinopathy checkup. The Opthalmologist explained that I needed no further checks because my diabetes had been irradicated. He said I could have a yearly check if I wanted it. I booked one for June 2016.

As we drove home, our Estate Agent phone to say he now had two couples who wantrd to buy our property. One couple is desperately trying to raise more money to meet the asking price while the second couple is having a second viewing on Monday. I predict that we will be out of this property by Christmas even if we are not in a new one by then.

27th June, 2015

Hot and humid day – 25C/77F. We are forecast to be in the 30Cs/Upper 80Fs by Tuesday.For the third day running, we have not been to the gym. I will have to do an hour and a half tomorrow. Our meal was griddled Chicken cooked outside and eaten with Greek Salad. It’s ironic really but lovely.

Greece is falling apart! It is not surprising but the Europeans didn’t expect them to be so tough. Whatever happens, Greece will be in decline for many years to come. Stavros & Sarah have gone from dreams of millionaire status to relative poverty in just five years.  Their kids will have to leave Greece if they want a future. The future of all our island friends is far more precarious today than it was in the early years when we first bought land there.

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