Sunday, 26th June
I managed to get through 391 weeks of The Blog as a European but, before I could start Week 392, I found myself flailing around and unsure where I belonged. The country has voted to leave. I didn’t. Those who had nothing, had nothing to lose and went for it. The great thing about democracy is that it gives every voter a chance to do something stupid. The terrible thing about Democracy is that it gives every voter a chance to do something stupid. And they took that chance. It will change life in so many ways and many for the worse.
Spare a thought for the expats at this time. Call-me-Dave ‘reassured’ them on Friday that for
British nationals living in European countries and European citizens living in the UK there will be no immediate changes in their circumstances.
Note that the key word is immediate and the value it carries. It implies that there will be one but not yet. He went on to say that
There will be no initial change in the way British people can travel, in the way our goods can move or the way our services can be sold.
We are the Greeks biggest trading partners and their second biggest source of tourists. Already at a weak ebb, the Greeks are worried about the impact of Brexit on their economy and rightly. Just the effect on the Sterling-Euro relationship is enough to put many off buying Greek products and booking Greek holidays. They would only need a reduction of 2-3% to make a major difference.
Monday, 27th June
I have always been a gadget enthusiast and an I.T. enthusiast. For years I’ve loved new cars and the rolling technological developments that they have embodied. Many won’t even know what it is like to be driving with one hand and trying to wind down the window with a plastic handle on the door with the other. I longed for electronically controlled windows. When I got them, I also got air conditioning at the same time.
When I took delivery of that car in 1984, it was rumoured that something called ALB was available on higher end models. Anti-Lock Brakes became standard on our Honda cars by 1992. We started to replace tape decks and separate radios with Digital units combining CD players with radios. we got charging points around our car that allowed us to run an electric cool bag and USB points to charge phones and iPads. We got satellite navigation integrated with entertainment.
For the past seven years, we have had reversing cameras and surround parking sensors. I would find it hard to operate without. We have had electronic, memory seating. Now we have internet access and, therefore, the ability to search vital information on our journey although not, I hasten to add, while we are driving. With every new car, I take a few days exploring its potential. It has taken just five days to get this up and running. I am delighted but will soon take it for granted. Can you imagine driving without air conditioning now?
Tuesday, 28th June
Since selling in Greece, we have had an account with a foreign exchange company. I haven’t needed their services very much for a couple of years but, ironically, I needed them today. I only bought £1000.00 worth of Euros to be delivered to my home but I managed to buy them at 1.18€ = £1.00. This includes the cost of having them delivered to my door. It’s not terrible but it is a sign of things to come. Brits are cancelling European holidays in their thousands and not just because of the football. We’ve booked a shopping trip to France next week and we think currency fixed at our rate will be better than credit cards fixed at their rate. Who knows how a volatile commodity like the £Sterling will fluctuate.
Wednesday, 29th June
As the Brexit caravan rumbles on, two groups are becoming increasingly nervous. Those immigrants, both EU and otherwise, who are working and residing in Britain and are feeling unloved and unwanted – how ever mistakenly -and vulnerable to abuse and opprobrium. Those emigrant ex-pats across the EU who now have to consider the consequences for the domicile. As reported in national press, British expatriates may have to stop living abroad in European countries like France and Spain when Britain leaves the European Union, the Government has suggested.
Although we had the unedifying sight of Farage rebuking the European Parliament, the Euro Bureaucracy didn’t help itself with a kneejerk closing of ranks and excluding others at different levels. The 6 original members met alone, excluding the other 22 members. Then Britain was excluded as the other 27 members met. They never learn. Lack of democratic accountability was one of the key planks of the ‘Leave’ campaign. The Times reports this morning:
A continental split has opened up over the response to the Brexit vote, with Poland and Hungary leading calls for a new-style European Union amid claims that the founding member states are trying to call the shots….Austria and Spain were among nine countries which joined a meeting in the Polish capital on Monday for those that had not been invited to the founder members’ ministerial summit at the weekend.
We already know that the Greek economy is susceptible to the Brexit fallout and today we learn that Greece’s primary supermarket chain, the Carrefour-badged Marinopoulos, has filed for protection from its creditors. The firm is thought to owe more than 720 million euros to some 2,000 suppliers and could face closure if a court on Friday decides not to accept its request for protection. The company’s total debts, including what it owes to the state, reach 1.3 billion euros. Marinopoulos employs around 12,500, whose jobs are now in doubt unless a solution, which could include a buyout, is found.
Thursday, 30th June
Had to buy Euros from our Foreign Exchange dealer – Moneycorp – which I used for repatriating the sale of our Greek house. It was delivered by courier to our house this morning. The rate was €1.18 = £1.00. In the circumstances, it wasn’t bad but I predict that continental shopping is going to nosedive. We are shopping in France next week but I bet we will not have many others around us. It doesn’t take much to change sentiment and everything will now become more expensive.
Friday, 1st July
Happy new month. Happy July if we ever see the sun again! My tomatoes and peppers demand it. The fruits are set but they need sun to grow and ripen and they need it urgently. We are cutting and cooking with our Basil and Tarragon plants. This day last year was the hottest British day on record. Surrey reached the lower 30Cs/upper 90Fs. Today, in Sussex, we have struggled to reach 20C/68F.
Saturday, 2nd July
A free morning with pleasant sunshine and high clouds moving quite quickly in a gentle breeze, It meant that the landscape was alternately bathed in strong sunshine and dark shade in quick succession. We thought that would continue in our quest to explore the area by driving to Goring-on-Sea, down the coastal road to Worthing and then on to Lancing and Shoreham-on-Sea. We turned around there rather than go on to Brighton which would have been heaving at this time of year. The coastal road was busy enough as it is. There seem to be plenty of people who are just happy to holiday by the English coast. They probably voted BREXIT as well! It certainly wouldn’t do for me. There is a distinct whiff of seedy decay in all of these places.
What they do have is daily, fresh fish catches on sail. In Goring we found fishermen’s boats up on the beach being mobbed by seagulls hungry for bits discarded as the catch was being prepared for the shop. We bought shellfish – two crab for our meal today and Huss to serve as goujons tomorrow. We walked on Goring beach and I took some photos with my phone which explains the poor quality. I must start taking my camera with me again.