Week 371

31st January, 2016

A gloriously hot and sunny Sunday with clear, blue skies and strong sunshine which reached 28C/82F but the intensity of the sun was too much for Pauline and instead of retreating in to the shade, she put her knickers on her head.

Your one chance to see my wife with her knickers on her head.


Yes, you did read that correctly. Instead of going out to buy a hat to cope with the fierce sunshine of recent days, Parsimonious Pauline has been improvising by putting anything to hand over her hair to shade it. The knickers were clean, newly washed and drying on the rack in the sun. I was short of an illustration for today and persuaded her to improvise a sun hat. It is testament to her that she agreed.

What better way to see January 2016 out than by growing old disgracefully with your knickers on your head.? You should try it!


1st February, 2016


A happy new February to all our readers. The sun is just breaking across the mountains here and we are dreaming of moving into our new house very soon. I receive my State Pension in a couple of months and then I want to live for ever – or until both Teachers’ and State Pension Funds are bled dry. What better ambition can there be in the world?

Don’t let the train (in Greece) give you a strain!

If only Greece’s world could be as happy. They have been infected with a potentially fatal dose of the 1970s British Disease. Europe’s demands for the overhaul of Greece’s pensions system and actually paying their taxes are resulting in thousands of Greeks taking to the streets, to strikes and work stoppages. The week from February 1st to February 5th 2016 is expected to be ‘hell’ especially in terms of transportation. The month will begin with farmers continuing to block highways, national roads, toll stations and customs points.

  • On Tuesday (Feb 2.), personnel working in public transport in Athens will launch a work stoppage from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. No bus, metro, trolley, tram, urban train ISAP.
  • On Wednesday (Feb 3.),  the media will be on 24h strike.
  • On Thursday, (February 4th), public and private sector unions will launch a general strike that will paralyze the country. Even shops are expected to be closed. Athens transport: bus & trolley will operate 9 am – 9 pm. Decisions are expected also by other transport workers.
  • The seamen association (PNO) will launch another 48h strike on Thursday and Friday affecting inter-island travel.

Holidays on Sifnos anyone?

2nd February, 2016

A hot and humid but rather overcast day. We did our exercise routine of gym and swimming and caught up with correspondence.

We have been searching for a new dining table and chairs for our new home. We’ve looked at hundreds. Hundreds have been rejected. Today, purely by coincidence, we found what looks as though it will be the perfect choice. It is in a furniture store – Housing Units in Failsworth, Manchester of all places. The table is reminiscent of the one we took to Greece with us.

A Dining Table made from reclaimed wood.

The one we took to Greece had come from Bulgaria via Yorkshire. This one will come from Lithuania via Lancashire.

3rd February, 2016

Glorious day without a cloud in the sky. After breakfast, I told Pauline I needed my haircut. I know I’ve written about it before but it still fascinates me. I haven’t visited a barber since meeting Pauline 38 years ago. Working on an average cut every 6 weeks at current prices of £20.00 per time, I calculate like this:

38 years x 52 weeks = 1976 weeks.

1976 weeks / 6 weeks = 329.33 cuts.

329.33 cuts x £20.00 = £6586.67.

Me aged 64 + 43 weeks + new haircut!

That’s what a good wife is worth to a man! Actually, you can’t reduce a good wife to monetary value. No sooner had I mentioned ‘haircut’ but Pauline took out of the wardrobe her barbers’ cape and haircutting scissors.

Sitting out on the balcony in scorching sun, I had my hair cut and my eyebrows trimmed. Not only that but she had recently bought a small dustpan & brush from a local shop to sweep the hair from the balcony floor after the cut. You really can’t beat such dedication and attention to detail.

4th February, 2016

The day started off warm and sunny. We walked up the mountain to a supermarket to buy huge, red grapes and sparkling water. By the time we had walked back and made coffee, the sky had clouded over. It was still warm and bright but not hot sun. We decided to have a quiet day. I wrote to lots of old friends and to the Chief Executive of Ancestry.com who is based in California and is interested in my reviews of life in Sifnos. Pauline was washing and ironing in preparation for our departure in a few days.

Cape Verde

As we come towards the end of this chapter, we are planning the next twelve months of life and travel. The Springtime will be dominated by moving and settling in to our new house. The Summer will see us driving across Europe and visiting Kalamata on the southern coastline of the Greek Peloponnese en route to Sifnos. In the Autumn, we will visit Athens as has become our custom and, after Christmas, we will either return here to Tenerife or go further south to Cape Verde. We have been transfixed by so many people in the celebrity world dying recently in their late 60s and early 70s. We are beginning to look at our own ages and reckon up the years left. We’ve got to get on with enjoying life while we can.

5th February, 2016

From a picture of dinghies beached in the sun to ferries docked in the Greek winter.  The Panhellenic Seamen’s Union (PNO), which has been holding rolling strikes for several weeks, on Thursday extended its action, calling a new 48-hour walkout which will keep ferries docked in Greek ports until 6 a.m. Saturday. People stranded on islands may consider themselves lucky to be prevented from reaching the anarchy and chaos of Athens.

Inactivity in Greece
Activity in Greece

Here the newspapers have much more fundamental things to worry about. Consider this headline in The Independent

Global warming could be causing dogs to become depressed.

That Global Warming does so many pernicious things but depressing dogs? Do they worry about it really?

Total Depression

It turns out that cold, wet Winters put owners off taking their dogs out for walks. Oh Dear. Hold the front page! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have an appointment with a hot, sunny balcony under clear, blue skies and a delicious cup of coffee. Depression? Tell me about it.

6th February, 2016

Coming to the end of the first week of February already! Bob will be 64 soon, thank goodness.

Where on Earth could this be?

The Times has an article this morning with the headline:

The 50 Best Holidays in Greece

but there is no mention of Serifos, Sifnos, Milos or Paros and, when you see the picture illustration, you know it’s a lazy filler piece which could have been done without leaving the journalist’s desk. Corfu, Kefalonia, Zakynthos & Lefkada, Crete & Rhodes, Santorini & Mykonos are there. Halkidiki features strongly as do the concepts of ‘Adult-Only’ and All-Inclusive’. Neither of these will please the small island hotelier or taverna owner who rely on the less well-heeled or the more inclined to spend their holidays taking a chance on the services they can find.

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