Week 340

28th June, 2015

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

William Butler Yeats: The Second Coming

For years we thought the Greeks were waving to welcome us but now, as I have been suggesting for some time and the world has come to realise, they are not waving but drowning.

It looks as if capital controls will be presaged by an ad hoc Bank Holiday on Monday. Very difficult times are ahead. This year’s earnings from tourism will be severely dented and next year’s may be even worse if the country can’t afford imports we’ve all come to rely on.

This evening, it is confirmed. Not just a Bank Holiday Monday but a Bank Holiday week and a half. The Banks in Greece are set to be closed until a week on Tuesday.

Very limited – €60.00/£40.00 withdrawals will be allowed from ATMs. You won’t see much spending going on.

29th June, 2015

A hot and sultry day. We were out early at the supermarket and then out again exercising to coincide with people having a second viewing of our apartment. It couldn’t have been a better day for it. The gardens looked wonderful and the rooms were flooded with sunlight. It is south facing and that is definitely a selling point. We hope to hear the outcome before the Greeks hear their outcome.

30th June, 2015

The last day of June reached 30C/86F in Surrey. It is forecast to reach 34C/93F tomorrow.We went strawberry and raspberry picking and then gorged on them when we got home.

rasps

Our estate agent phoned to say that the ‘second viewers’ of our property from yesterday were going to phone him to make an offer by mid-morning and a new viewer was coming all the way from Wales to see it in the afternoon.

As I write at 8.00 pm UK Time, the outside temperature is a sticky 27C/81F while I watch live reports from a very wet Athens. Just over a week ago, I wrote about the Greeks propensity for a deus ex machine ending and it looks tonight as if that is exactly what is going to happen. The European negotiating groups will meet at midnight tonight to consider newly submitted proposals by the Tsipras government which will be much more painful but acceptable to Europe. With one bound they were free… or not in this case.

1st July, 2015

wrjuly

Must be going gaga. Welcome July.

Sleeping on top of the bedsheet was the order of the night a la grecque. Temperatures didn’t fall below 22C/70F. At 9.00 am, we reached 27C/81F and, as I write at 10.30 am, we have reached 32C/90F. We are forecast to hit 35-36C/96-97F this afternoon and the media is just as bad as we have been used to in Greece each Summer. Just in case you missed it or don’t understand, hot temperatures mean you should drink more water and stay in the shade. I think I’ve got it.

Done an hour and a half at the Health Club and Pauline is now roasting Salmon with pesto crust, mushrooms, shallots and fennel. At 10.30 pm, the temperature here is 27C/81F and BBC News has announced that today has been the hottest July day ever recorded.

2nd July, 2015

Hot and humid day but not as uncomfortable as yesterday. We even had five minutes of rain this morning just as the gardener was about to start mowing the lawns. Fortunately, he was soon able to resume his work and leave pleasing stripes on the grass.

When we returned from the Health Club, soaked in sweat, tired and hungry, I collected the mail. One letter stood out with a postal frank of Burton Upon Trent. It was from a solicitor. He had handled the administration of my Mother’s estate when she died in 2008. It had included a parcel of Barclays shares that Mum had bought with the proceeds of the sale of Sanders & Sons on the death of my father in the mid-60s. Bank shares are in the doldrums compared with when Mum held them but I was shocked by my emotional response to the solicitor’s letter.

The legal firm were a partnership which I had never heard of but I was surprised to find that it had subsumed an earlier firm called Goodger Auden. This was a long established firm which dad had used. His solicitor was Colonel Auden throughout the time that I was conscious of such things. Colonel Auden was related to the poet, WH Auden, who went to school in my home village of Repton.

 wha

I found the cyclical relationship so moving that the cheque became irrelevant.

3rd July, 2015

Another seriously warm day. At 5.00 pm we were recording 27C/81F and rather humid. We did a quick shop and then decided to miss our exercise in favour of some garlic stuffed Halkidiki olives and a bottle of iced Pinot Grigiot which we consumed outside on the patio where we eventually grilled rump steak to eat with delicious Greek salad.

Talking about Greeks – which we weren’t – the nation are renowned for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. They are doing it in spades this time. Their one hope of income for the winter is through tourism. What do they do? Destroy tourism. Spanish bookings are up more than 100% and discretionary bookings in Greece are massively down. All European governments are warning their citizens of the dangers of holidaying in Greece. If you only have a couple of weeks each summer, why would you risk it in a country where they may run out of food supplies, fuel for taxis and ferries and the ATMS are likely to run dry? Why not find your sun in Spain or Turkey? Lefteris Lazarou, a popular TV chef who was the country’s first to be given a Michelin star, told To Vima radio that tourists would be left furious and starving if capital controls continued.

Tourists are cancelling 50,000 bookings a day amid food shortage fears. Holiday bookings are down by 50,000 a day since the government’s announcement of a referendum and the introduction of capital controls, the Greek tourist association said yesterday. One in five bookings at Greek hotels is made at the last minute and sensitive to changes in sentiment, leaving the industry braced for a catastrophic downturn at the height of the season. Bookings on ferries to the Greek islands have fallen by 60 per cent in the past week, Andreas Andreadis, head of the Association of Hellenic Tourist Enterprises, said. Domestic tourism has been wiped out nearly to zero, Mr Andreadis added, as Greeks cancelled travel plans to stay at home or with relatives.

4th July, 2015

Lovely day that reached 27C/81F but without the humidity of previous days. We had a viewing booked for mid day so we went to the Health Club for an hour’s work. As we drove home, the estate agent phoned to say the clients had not been able to make that time and would like to come at 3.00 pm.. We quickly showered and went out so the viewing could take place. We were going to cook but decided to go to Waitrose and buy cold food for our meal after the viewing. We bought dressed crab, and two types of prawns.

crab2

We ate it with green salad which was wonderful with a bottle of ice cold Pinot Grigiot.

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