Week 349

30th August, 2015

The penultimate day of Summer 2015 has been pleasant but quiet. We had quite a lot to do so we didn’t go out to exercise. We will go tomorrow – Bank Holiday Monday or so we are led to believe. It means so little to us. – when the Health Club will be like a ghost town.

Received an email from our builder this afternoon with an illustration of current development of our new house.


If the weather is kind, we will be in it for mid February. If not, it might be Easter – March 27th, 2016. We will be going down soon to discuss kitchen units, floor tiles, wooden floors in the hall and study, fitted Study furniture, bathroom/en suite tiles, wardrobes, garden paving/landscaping, etc., etc.. Pauline is on the case.

31st August, 2015

A soggy end to August and the Health Club was packed with workers punishing themselves on their day off. We did our hour and marvelled at the ‘free car wash’ provided by the weather. What disappoints me is that I don’t get noticeably fitter. I am just as tired and my shirt is just as heavy with sweat today as it was when I first started this madness. I’ll never catch Jane BG at this rate.


She won a silver medal in the World Masters Athletic Championships, August 2015Lyon.

A Sifnos friend contacted us yesterday and we are looking forward to going back to Greece in a few days time. Kathimerini has a Leader Article which echoes exactly my thoughts:

Greek election may reopen can of worms

The upcoming Greek election may reopen the can of worms that the country’s recent 86 billion euro bailout deal with its creditors was supposed to close. Given that no party is likely to emerge from the Sept. 20 vote with a majority, it may be hard to form a strong government that can implement the program. There’s even a risk that there will be yet more elections, tipping Greece back into crisis.

I’m looking forward to hearing the word on the street or the talk in the café. It is so much better than reading about it.

1st September, 2015


The Summer has gone and the Autumn begins. The weather remains the same. Actually, the day opened with torrential rain which recently gave way to blue skies and sunshine but the ark is close to floating.

À propos of absolutely nothing, I came across this amusing picture on the web this morning:


and this excellent one-liner from the Edinburgh Fringe:

I lost my virginity very late. When it finally happened, I wasn’t so much deflowered as deadheaded.

Can you tell I’m having a quiet day? Well, I’ve done another hour’s exercise and the rain has returned. The ark has edged further off the patio and the cats are getting their life jackets on.

2nd September, 2015

The day has opened quietly. Some schools in England go back today. In Surrey, they go back tomorrow. In our house, they never go back. We received an update from our Estate Agents which suggested that our buyers wanted to ‘Complete’ quickly on the purchase of our property. We may only have 4 – 6 weeks left here.

We also received an invitation from our builder to go down and view the development of our new house.  We won’t be doing that for a while because we will be abroad but we have been to visit flooring specialists. We will need tiling throughout the ground floor – Hall, Study, Cloakroom, Toilet, Kitchen-Family Room, Laundry. With such a big expanse, it is important to get it right. We drove over to a stockist/supplier to look at examples and came back with ideas. We think that half will be wood and half tiled. We’ve got a few months to think about it.

3rd September, 2015

A mild but overcast day. We had a trip out to Camberley which took about an hour as a round trip. It never ceases to amaze me how rural everywhere in Surrey is. We went on to the Health Club for an hour’s exercise and then came home to griddle chicken and vegetables outside in the garden.


Will the Greeks give Tsipras ‘one last chance’? Will they vote with the left wing breakaway, Popular Unity, for a return to the Drachma and reject ‘Austerity’? Will they turn back to the corruption of the past and choose New Democracy? Between a rock, a hard place and a very hard place is where the Greeks are. Why would anyone seek asylum there?

4th September, 2015

All the kids went back to school yesterday leaving us behind in our dotage. It still feels strange yet wonderful. As we wave goodbye to our neighbours’ children and cheer when they’ve gone, we fill our days with keeping fit and healthy and planning the interiors of our new house. We are currently projected to move in at the end of February – beginning of March which will mean we can return to our drive across Europe about April time. Before then we and the builders have to make decisions about

  • tiles (and, possibly, underfloor heating),
  • kitchen units,
  • fitted wardrobes,
  • Study furniture,
  • white goods,
  • outdoor paving and garden landscaping,
  • the garage door automated, etc..

We will have to arrange for

  • a new phone line to be installed,
  • a satellite or cable supplier to connect to our media distribution panel,
  • a broadband supplier,
  • a doctor and a dentist.

In the meantime, we are off to Greece for a jaunt followed by some time in France and some time in Yorkshire. We haven’t got time to work!

I started my teaching career in a Victorian school in Derker, Oldham. I lived in a flat in Acre Lane three streets away. This afternoon, I watched a programme on television in which the Texan model and former husband of Mick Jagger, Jerry Hall, explored her ancestry.


How funny to find her grandfather was born three streets away in Waverley Street, Oldham. To add to the irony, it emerged that Mick Jagger’s father, Joe Jagger, lived in Greenfield and taught at Hulme Grammar School in Oldham.

5th September, 2015

I am a creature of habit – to the point that it drives my wife mad. In my retired reincarnation, I start the day shortly after 7.00 am with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, a cup of Yorkshire tea followed shortly afterwards by a large cup of freshly brewed coffee. I love my bean-to-cup coffee maker.


It grinds the beans, forces pressurised hot water through the newly made grounds and produces a lovely head on the coffee. The Italians would probably call me a philistine because I needed frothed milk on the top. Over the frothed head, I sprinkle cinnamon and then chocolate powder.


Now I am ready to read the Politics Section in my digital newspaper followed by my favourite section – The Obituaries. You have to keep up with the dead!

Week 348

23rd August, 2015

Another humid day which featured half an hour of light rain that helped me avoid plant watering and temporarily held the inevitable Test match result up for an hour or so. We had intended to go the gym but events took over – watching the Test match, the FI Motor Racing from Belgium (something interesting has to come from Belgium) and two Premier League football matches.

Booked a crossing through the Tunnel for our forthcoming journey. The return cost was about £112.00/€155.00 which I paid with my Private Banking Charge Card. I don’t know why but my Bank chose this morning to do a random check on payments, stopped the card account for fifteen minutes and texted me to confirm it was me using the card and not a thief. I should be reassured by this but it irritated me today. I had booked a crossing and a hotel plus another transaction in Surrey and all three had been blocked. I had to contact each company in turn to explain why I needed to resubmit payment. It made a bit of a nonsense of on-line, rapid payment.

Before we go away, we are hoping for the first time in many years to find Pick Your Own Victoria Plums. We both love them and Pauline would also like to make some jam.


They should be ready now but they’re not even in the shops yet.

24th August, 2015

Woke up to warm, torrential rain which alternated with sun most of the day. Why couldn’t England have held on until the final day?

We completed all our Buyer/Seller paperwork and I can assure you that is a lot of work. Off to the Post Office to despatch it to Woking and Worthing and then out to the health Club for some much needed exercise. I really enjoyed it and felt fitter than I have done for a long time – in fact, since the early 1970s when I stopped playing competitive sport. I can’t believe that’s more than 40 years ago. Even Ruth was young then!

Our meal today was a delightful Greek Salad with cold roast chicken and duck. It feels so privileged to have such delightful food. This feeling is accentuated when I read of the residents of Symi trying to help the immigrants arriving on their shores from nearby Turkey.

symi  symi2

These pictures are featured on the Symi Dream Blog today and feature islanders collecting basic necessities for the burgeoning migrant population.

25th August, 2015

A second, consecutive day of heavy rain interspersed with a bit of sun. It’s certainly helping the gardens if not the inhabitants. We have had a quiet day. We visited The Storage Pod to check that increased space will be available when we move out and did another hour’s exercise on the treadmill. Our meal was a seafood salad – tomato and cucumber with a dressing of olive oil and capers to accompany smoked salmon, king prawns and small prawns.


I think this is my favourite meal at the moment. Particularly, we have found a producer of the most wonderful smoked salmon, badged by Pru Leith and sold by Asda. We go out of our way to buy it. It sounds rather ‘precious’ but it is materially better than any other easily bought product. You should try it!

The Greeks don’t appear totally confident in Tsipras as he seeks re-election. This is summed up in this morning’s cartoon in Kathimerini newspaper.


As a sign of the continuing woes, Greece’s state insurance funds are resorting to external loans to cover their needs as fears grow that the measures of the third bailout will not be enough to cover the rest of 2015’s liquidity needs.


The deficit of IKA is expected to grow due to the dramatic increase in unemployment, political and economic uncertainty, capital controls, the measures of the third bailout and the early elections, which are expected to impact on the revenues of insurance funds this autumn.

26th August, 2015

We are experiencing rain in biblical proportions for the third, consecutive day. I knew that Jeremy Corbyn was up to no good. We are considering building an ark. There are two cats live near here. My dilemma is how much to charge them. Should I consider them as refugees or economic migrants?

All the contractual documents had arrived by the time we got back from the Health Club. Lots of signatures for us and 10% deposit from our buyers which will lock them in and give us additional peace of mind. We just want it to stop raining now so the builders can get on with our new house. Pauline is already planning all the flooring, the kitchen type and layout. Which washing machine and which tumble dryer is concentrating minds as we prepare to go in to an English house with a Laundry for the first time in five years. I’m allowed to have a view about how to kit out the Study although Pauline will probably decide. It’s nice to see her enjoying it.

27th August, 2015

Got up at 6.00 am and went out at 6.30 am to the Walk-in Hospital for an official INR test. I usually do it myself at home but like to do an ‘official’ check once in a while. Within about 4 hrs, I received an email confirming my INR at 2.5 which couldn’t be more perfect.

I don’t know what’s happened. We start to build the ark and they turn the water off. A pleasant, late Summer’s day. We are going down to see the progress on our new house tomorrow so we did our weekly shop today. First we delivered signed contracts to our solicitor so that the selling process is not held up and then drove on to Sainsbury’s. We checked in to a shop that supplies fitted bedroom furniture to decide what we wanted putting in our new bedrooms and then came home for coffee and newspapers.

Eventually, we chickened out of exercise today and got through jobs that needed to be completed. Our neighbour is about to put her Duplex on the market and a property just across from us will go up for sale in September. People are beginning to realise that the market has moved so far and so fast in the four years since we bought that it is an attractive proposition to cash in and move on. If one’s free to go where one wants like us, it is even more profitable.

28th August, 2015

Up at 6.00 am on a beautiful morning. We drove down to the South Coast to see the work of our builders on our new home. It was an enjoyable couple of hours and, even though the roof isn’t on yet, we are already planning the kitchen/Garden Room, Laundry, Garden and planting, Study, Lounge and built-in wardrobes in the four bedrooms. Flooring is already a major topic for discussion plus tiles in the bathrooms. Should they be full or half height? Such questions will be at the centre of Pauline’s internet searches for weeks.

Went to the Health Club this afternoon but I stopped 10mins early because I felt really tired. Strangely, I felt dissatisfied with myself for the rest of the evening – felt as if I’d let myself down. Our meal cheered me up. We had dressed Cornish crab with tomato & cucumber salad, taramasalata and humous. Lovely.

29th August, 2015

Up early on a lovely morning. Everywhere is quiet and fresh. The hydrangeas we bought for the gardener to put in have flowered delightfully.

hyd4 hyd3

Did a full hour’s exercise at lunchtime to salve my conscience and then came home to a couple of football matches and ate roast tarragon chicken with roast vegetables – shallots, fennel and mushrooms.

Opinion polls indicating that the September 20 elections will be very close which is not good news for a country that needs firm, decisive leadership in the face of uncomfortable decisions.


Only Forward says the Syriza slogan but, if New Democracy get back, it could become ‘only backward’.

Week 347

16th August, 2015

Quiet Sunday – quite delightful – worshipping at the altar of newspapers and Premier League football. The exciting Labour Leadership election is hotting up

while Manchester City, a team I’ve never favoured in my life, got my full support today as they thrashed Chelsea 3-0.

17th August, 2015

Amazing how quickly things move on when you want them to slow down a bit. A huge ‘Sellers Pack’ of documents arrived from our law firm today. We have had a hard day finding documents, phoning people like our Management Company, Estate Agent and Solicitor to complete our Homework. Actually, it will dominate tomorrow morning as well. We managed to fit in an hour on the treadmill and will do our best to fit one in tomorrow although we have to visit the Law Firm which we, wisely, chose locally. We are going down to see the progress on the new house on Wednesday and that will take up our day. The final Ashes Test starts on Thursday so I’m hoping to catch that.

Kathimerini reports today that a quarter of a million less people travelled through the country’s ports in the last six weeks.


Specifically in July, passenger traffic fell by 12.38 % compared to last year, with the number of routes served reduced by 4.6 %.  Car transportation dropped 18.09 percent while trucks were down 15.26 %.

18th August, 2015

We are exhausted after a long day of paperwork, form filling, file finding, copying followed by a legal meeting. Whose idea was it to sell and buy a house? The day was prefaced by our Estate Agent ringing to say our builders wanted to ‘exchange contracts’ on the new house in three weeks. The Estate Agent was sceptical. We spent the entire morning filling in the ‘Sellers’ forms, looking out Lease Documents, Service Charge Accounts, Energy Certificates, creating a Fixtures & Fittings list. The morning was only broken up by the arrival of ten, huge, plastic Storage Boxes.


We already have ten stacked in storage from our last move. Unfortunately, these ten – contrary to sellers description don’t fit into each other. Ten is a lot of big boxes to stack. A bonus, however, is that each box came packed in an industrial strength, cardboard box. This means that, ultimately, we will have an extra twenty boxes for packing and storage or removal.

19th August, 2015

We drove down to Sussex this morning to see the property we have just agreed to buy. Angmering is a lovely village. The property will be ready in March next year and is fine for what we require. This is the floor plan of the two levels:


Within two miles of the new house, there is a huge Garden Centre, three, megastore-sized supermarkets – Sainsburys, Waitrose and Asda and two Health Cubs – Virgin Active and David Lloyd’s.

On the edge of the South Downs, the coast is about ten minutes away.


We are already looking forward to getting to know the area. We just have to settle on a Doctors’ and Dentists’ surgeries. The drive back took just one hour.

20th August, 2015

We woke at 5.00 am, thinking about yesterday’s events. It was still half dark which is indicative of the season’s progress. We had a swathe of documents from the property developers, from the legal firm who are selling the property and the legal firm involved in our purchase of the new house. How people manage to cope with this while they are in full time work although I suppose we did a number of times.

We went to the Health Club for an hour and I then relaxed with a few hours of the Fifth Ashes Test Match. Our Nuffield Health Club looked so small after visiting the massive David Lloyd place in Angmering.


It has been a sweaty, humid day and we are forecast to reach 30C/86F over the weekend. It will be good re-acclimatisation for impending trip to Greece.

21st August, 2015

A hot and humid day which reached 26C/79F. We had to scramble around to find someone who would do the Identity Certification process for us. It’s for an anti-Money Laundering check that moving, spending large amounts of money now requires. Eventually, we found a Post Office branch big enough to certify copies of our Passports and Driving Licence Photo Cards so we can get them off to our solicitor who is dealing with the purchase of the new house.

We did so much charging around in town and then did a full Sainsbury’s shop so we decided to give the Health Club a miss. I was able to watch the Test Match, grill lamb steaks and mixed vegetables outside in the garden and generally chill out. It gave me chance to read through my Blog list and the Greek newspapers. As predicted, of course, a breakaway of 25 Syriza MPs has formed a new party under the leadership of former Energy Minister Panayiotis Lafazanis.


It is to be known as Popular Unity, and will campaign on an anti-austerity platform. As the third largest party, it has to be given the chance to form a government before Elections (εκλογές) are called – probably on September 20th or 27th. The economy is on autopilot again thanks to political developments. Ironically, thunder storms and strong winds are forecast over Greece this weekend.

22nd August, 2015

A hot and sunny day – forecast to reach somewhere between 29C-32C/84F-90F. It is a day when Mum would have been red-faced as she complained about the heat. Even so, it would have been her 92nd birthday today so Happy Birthday, Mum.


This is her, aged 13 in 1936, on holiday in Brighton with her father – the dandy – Grandad Coghlan.

We’ve got a busy few weeks ahead – just as we like it. We have to do as much as we can in preparation for our sale/purchase and removal from our current property. We will shortly be going back to Greece. Almost immediately after our return, we will leave for France and, in the latter half of October, spend some time in Yorkshire. It is possible that we will have moved out by then but we would rather stall that until the end of October. After we’ve moved out, we would like to rent somewhere in Europe for a month or so. I have a feeling we’re going to be tired by Christmas!

Week 346

9th August, 2015

Gorgeous, gorgeous morning of High Summer. Sitting in the sun, drinking freshly made cappuccino and reading The Sunday Times on my iPad. What more can you ask for?

Read a couple of lovely jokes in the papers over the past, two days:

What do you call an Australian who is good with a bat? …….. a vet!

Hedgehogs…………Why can’t they share the hedge?


In spite of the lovely day, I must go for a workout. I feel lethargic after my day off yesterday.

The gym was totally empty. I had the equipment completely to myself at 11.30 on a Sunday morning. What’s wrong with everyone? They can’t be still in bed, surely! I did my hour and then drove home in 26C/79F of delicious sunshine. As soon as I walked out of the garage, I saw a couple standing in the gardens, looking at our property. When we approached them, they apologised profusely and said they had booked a viewing for Tuesday evening because that was the only time they could get out of work to view together. We took them round the property immediately. It turns out that they were buying for her mother who has sold a property in Sydney, Australia and was looking to relocate nearer to them in Guilford/Woking area. Nice people who liked the property, We will see what happens.

10th August, 2015

A hot and sweaty day. In the morning, Pauline made a lovely, Lemon Cake for Phyllis and Colin who are coming round for coffee tomorrow.

We were just preparing to leave for the Health Club when the Estate Agent phoned to say the couple who dropped by on spec. yesterday with a prospect of viewing ‘officially’ on Tuesday, had rung this morning and offered the full asking price which, not surprisingly, we have accepted. It is £40,000 more than it was valued at last Autumn and almost double what we paid for it four years ago. To add to our joy, the buyer is a cash buyer – lady returning from Australia who has no furniture. She is interested in buying ours. For the second time in five years, we may be having a clean and light move where we can start afresh with everything new – lovely! They are coming round tomorrow to talk about the furniture and its cost.

We are going back to Greece soon but expect to be moving out of here by the end of November. We don’t expect to be moving in to our new house until February/March at the earliest so we may take a long term let abroad – France or Italy or maybe even Canary Islands. Could be fun.

We were just settling down for the evening when, about 9.30 pm, a knock came on the door. A young man – mid 20s or so – was standing there in running gear. He explained that he had bought one of the flats here and moved in recently. He was a banker and worked in the centre of London. He runs to the station in the morning, showers and changes at work and then runs back to the train station after work and back to his flat when getting off the train. He’d just completed this activity tonight when he realised that he had left his key at work.

He was stuck outside his flat sweating in his running gear with nowhere to shower or sleep. To add to his plight, his mobile phone was flat. To make it worse, the only person he knew living within reach was his ex-girlfriend who he was reluctant to call on. He suddenly thought of someone about five miles away. We drove him round and everything was resolved.

11th August, 2015

Another day of high humidity. We tidied the apartment prior to visitors coming for coffee but didn’t go to the Health Club because, when our visitors had left, we set about listing all the furniture, etc that we were happy to include in the sale. We searched out and haggled over prices and then I typed it all up.

Our buyers returned with the estate agent and confirmed that they wanted the whole process to go through as quickly as possible. The husband didn’t want his Mother-in-Law returning from Australia and living with him any longer than need be. He has the cash and wants the property as soon as possible.

flat1 flat2

flat4 flat3

Now, we are pleased to have sold so quickly but we also have to sign a deal on a new and much bigger property. This apartment was fine for when we were spending our summers in Greece but now we want a substantial, new-build house with real space.

12th August, 2015

The day after our property sale was confirmed, we have gone into hyperdrive:

  • The first job was to select, check out and engage legal services for Property Conveyancing. It is possible for this job to be done by legal firms from Landsend to John O’Groats and we were offered by legal teams across the country with guaranteed fees ranging from £600.00 – £2000.00 (€840 – €2800). I felt slightly guilty about being timid but we chose a Woking firm with a fee of around £1000.00 / €1400.
  • The next job was to inform our Management Company of our impending activity. They will have to provide solicitors with documentation and us with returned, pre-paid Service Charge for about five months. We will also have a large part of our Heating charges returned.
  • We then had to hook our Estate Agent up with the legal firm and the Management Company.
  • Pauline returned to searching new-build properties, identifying and researching geographical areas and then contacting Developers about timescales. She’s been doing this for some time but her efforts are now recharged with purpose.
  • I had the lovely job of emailing people to let them know our news and then to begin researching potential European rentals for when we move out and are waiting for our new house to be completed.

13th August, 2015

A hot, steamy day of high humidity. We are progressing our situation by phoning Developers in the southern Counties to find out about availability and timing of properties we would consider buying. My job is to consider the finances and arrangements for it when we’ve sold. In January, the Bank Guarantee Scheme only covers us for £75,000 (€106,000) instead of the current £85,000 per person per Bank. This is because it is roughly the equivalent of €100,000. So, any one Bank will guarantee our Joint Account for just £150,000 (€212,000). In October/November, I will have to find six, separate institutions in which to deposit money if I want our deposit to be completely safe before we purchase our new house.

We went to the Health Club for the first time since Monday. Because of the break, it felt quite hard. I felt better about myself afterwards though. We ate a very simple meal of cold fish and salad which felt good in the heat of the day. ‘A’ Level results are out today. One of Pauline’s family is mid-6th Form course and struggling a bit. Lots of us are late developers. I did a quick search and found a wonderful course at the University of Greenwich with a low entry requirement and, as I wrote to him about it, I found myself thinking – I’d like to do that. It was a sandwich course over 4 years –

University of Greenwich

BA (Hons) Public Relations & Communications

You never know. I might apply.  Unfortunately, I will be 68 when I graduate. Will I still be employable?

14th August, 2015

Mild but moist day today. We did our supermarket shopping and then Pauline stayed at home to receive a parcel delivery while I went to the Health Club. Pauline had ordered a set of suitcases which, I must admit, I took a little persuading with the colour. It is called Chartreuse in the marketing blurb. I was persuaded with the argument that, not only would it stand out at the airport but was the ‘in colour’ for this winter. To prove this, my wife took me in to a number of dress shops where clothes featuring this colour were coming on to the rails. Nice try but I can’t afford new clothes as well!


Of course, by the time I had got home from my exercise, no parcel had been delivered and wasn’t until 7.00 pm. We will use these cases for our trip to Greece, a trip to Yorkshire and a trip to France. We will probably go away for two or three months after leaving our property and before  any new build is ready to move in to. We can’t decide whether to rent a property in the South of France or in Tuscany/Umbria in Italy for three months or to get guaranteed sun and relaxation with a couple of months or so in a hotel in the Canary Islands.

The Greek Parliament may have agreed the new austerity policies forced on them by Europe although it may be at the cost of the Government with the strong possibility of a General Election in September. Kathimerini features a cartoon today which appealed to me:


Images of floods of migrants washing up on the shores of Aegean islands are playing even less well across Europe than the earlier economic instability. There is a hint of lawlessness subtly  underplaying the implied atmosphere. The Daily Express has run and article warning of the dangers of holidaying in Greece. Under a headline of

The most dangerous holiday destinations

they say that  Holiday makers travelling to Greece were warned of moped and car accidents, sexual assault and violence on the streets. 

15th August, 2015

Interesting day. We bought a house. It is on the south coast in Angmering. A four bed property with two bathrooms, study and garage and south west facing garden, it will suit us well for a year or two.


Unfortunately, it won’t be available to move in to until February/March. I feel a long trip abroad coming on.

Week 345

2nd August, 2015

All the roads are closed for miles around us for the Prudential Ride London-Surrey Cycle Event.


It is an absolutely beautiful day for it – warm and sunny – but it is still annoying if you suffer the tyranny of cyclists clogging up the roads all week and then find them taking over completely on Sunday. I wouldn’t mind if they paid road fund licence fees, took safety tests and carried insurance but they don’t. They think they are a law unto themselves, undertaking traffic, jumping the lights and, in Surrey, riding on the pavements. Most other places in the country, riding on the pavements can be punished with an on-the-spot fine but, in Surrey, it seems to be encouraged. We are trying to get to a barbecue less than five miles away and hoping the cycling stasi have reached nirvana. I’ll let you know. ….. ….

…. Fortunately, a plague of cyclists, as they are known, had gone home for their teas by the time we ventured out for a lovely barbecue in the garden with ten family members. They cooked wonderful steaks and salmon kebabs, chicken kebabs and pork & chorizo sausages. Pauline had made lemon meringue and lemon cheese cake to go with a huge, Eton Mess. The weather was hot and sunny right up until the time we left at 9.00 pm. A lovely day.

3rd August, 2015

Woke up feeling tired and it has remained with me all day. We decided not to go to the Health Club. Had to take Pauline in to town for a eye test and a couple of pairs of new reading glasses. Age comes to us all and so does tiredness. I did some sedate research for Paulines nephew who is considering taking a Degree in Journalism next year. Just reading the courses made me want to start all over again!

Reported in The Times today is the story of Cristiano Ronaldo who was best man for Jorge Mendes, his agent, at his wedding on Sunday. Ronaldo gave him a wedding present of – a Greek island. We don’t know which one yet but it is rumoured to be Sifnos.

4th August, 2015

Overcast day reaching 23C/71F which feels disappointing for August. We have spent an hour on exercise in the gym and the rest just pottering today. Feels lazy but we are retired. In Britain, the government starts to return the Royal Bank of Scotland and, apart for quibbles at its price, there is little opposition. In Greece, a plan to privatize €50 billion worth of Greek state-owned assets is not so popular. In fact, Greeks have an historical aversion to selling off State-owned assets. However, this is how the world looks when you are in hock to the Germans.

5th August, 2015

An overcast day of 24C/75F. We went on a wild goose chase to antique shops in the area looking for a replacement glass shade after one was broken by a house viewer who was trying to open a window.


We had owned the lamp for the whole of our married life – it even featured in our wedding photographs back in 1978. The Estate Agent’s insurance will fund a replacement but we can’t find one. Pauline researched on the net and lined up a number of local antique shops to visit. This morning we drove to three and found that none were still trading. So much for the internet’s currency. Ironically, as soon as we got home, the estate agent phoned through to book another viewing of our property tomorrow.

Articles in Kathimerini and Ta Nea today sound like Greece returning to bad, old ways although they come, in part, from Syriza’s need to address the problems:

  • A 53-year-old woman is accused by the Financial Police of illegally drawing her dead mother’s two pensions and disability benefits for eight years, costing the IKA Social Security Foundation at least 140,000 euros, according to investigators.
  • Tax evasion is most prevalent among businesses that operate at night in tourism destinations, and mostly concerns the failure to issue receipts, according to data from the latest inspections.
  • Greek farmers gear up for protests.
  • Several Greek domestic and international flights were cancelled on Wednesday as air traffic controllers went on strike.

The whole thing does sound rather like déjà vu all over again.

6th August, 2015

An interesting day that started with a Windows 10 upgrade. Yes, I know, I’m a geek. I love to learn new skills, try out new computer platforms, trial new gadgets. Many people, particularly as the get older, don’t want things to change. I am the exact opposite. I constantly want to move forward and leave the past behind. I know I’m only talking about a new, computer platform but it is a test to crack.


Although I’m enjoying navigating my way through the new platform but one unfortunate corollary of the upgrade is that a now defunct version of Ms Excel badged Ms Money – an Accounts software package – will run on the new platform and there will be no upgrade. Pauline has been maintaining our household accounts using this software for 30 years. One of my jobs will be to research and plug that gap. I’m looking at one called BankTree.

We had to leave our property by 12.15 pm to allow a viewing. We combined it with our fourth trip to the Health Club this week. We are trying hard on our eating plan which isn’t difficult with so much lovely fish and bountiful mountains of fresh fruit. We are maxing out on strawberries, raspberries, cherries and peaches. Our meal was smoked salmon, king prawns, small prawns, Greek Salad and Avocado salad. It was accompanied by sparkling water because we are in the first week of an alcohol-free-August. It was delightful for a day that reached 26C/79F.

Of course the day was topped off by Englands demolition of Australia in the fourth Ashes Test at Trent Bridge. Australia were skittled out for a record breaking 60 all out. Stuart Broad was the hero of the day with 8 wickets.


7th August, 2015

A lovely, warm day which brought England within a breath of winning the Test Match and the Ashes. Tomorrow is said to be an even nicer day and England should wrap it up by lunchtime even though we don’t eat lunch.

We have had 2 – 3000 potential migrants knocking on the Channel Tunnel door for the past few months and one or two have managed to get in. UNHCR has bitterly criticised Greece for failing to address its immigrant influx. Tsipras described it as a crisis within a crisis. EU border agency Frontex said that almost 50,000 migrants arrived in the EU in July via Greece, compared to 41,700 in all of 2014. The UNHCR said that the total figure for the year so far stands at around 124,000, which is more than 750 % up on the same period in 2014. How on earth Greece is able to deal with the flood of migrants washing up on its island I don’t know.


Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR director for Europe, said:

The level of suffering we have seen on the islands is unbearable. People arrive thinking they are in the European Union. What we have seen was not anything acceptable in terms of standards of treatment.

The UNHCR director had been visiting the Greek islands of Lesvos, Kos and Chios.

8th August, 2015

A really enjoyable day which reached 26C/79F with strong sunshine. For us, it was a day off work. After five, consecutive days of work out in the gym, we still got up at 7.00 am but read the paper, drank fresh coffee, sat in the sunshine, watched the Test match completed with a comprehensive win by England of the match and the Ashes series.

Phyllis and Colin wanted some help with booking a hotel on Booking.com. I use it all the time – so much so that I now get 10% reductions on all prices. We booked it, printed all the paperwork and nipped to their house with the results. The crucial thing was that I was home in time to watch Man. Utd. win the opening match of the new Premier League season against Spurs.

It was nice to have a day off but I will be back at the Health Club tomorrow. The only problem is that Parliament is in recess so I won’t have a political programme to to distract me from the effort.