Week 404

Sunday, 18th September, 2016

Unnatural Autumn Conkers.

A lovely, mild and sunny day. We are not going to the gym today so, after listening to the newspaper review and watching the political interviews, I throw myself into Autumn Tidying. Of course, that is not such a major job here as it has been in other gardens that we’ve owned. It is smaller and not surrounded by trees. No leaves to sweep up. That was always a bind. Actually, horse chestnut trees in the village have been showing early autumnal signs but I read that they are being attacked by a disease imported from Turkey. Not much good comes from there – apart from figs and ‘delight’. I cut the lawns, threw away the old tomato and pepper plants and swept the patio.

Acidic, Greek, Thompson Grapes

Autumn is a time for wonderful grapes, sweet and scented. Unfortunately, our supermarkets seem to be swamped with rather acidic but tasteless, ‘Thompson’ grapes from Greece. They are exported from Andravida on the Patra – Pyrgos road. What we particularly love are the Greek Rozaki grapes which are imported from the Korinthos area. Maybe they will come soon but for how much longer? UK imports more grapes from Greece than all of the other European countries put together. How will BREXIT alter this relationship? We were saying this to a friend from Sifnos who contacted us this morning. It is looking as if we will be completely out by mid-2019. That’s if there is an EU to leave by then. Elections all around Europe are about to throw Spaniards in a lot of works!

Monday, 19th September, 2016

Overcast but mild this morning. We will be going to the gym for a couple of hours around 2.00 pm. Before that, my jobs are to mow the neighbours’ lawn and to tidy the garage. First, we go to Asda to buy ingredients for green tomato chutney and green pepper relish. Neither of my jobs are major and I’m finished within the hour. Pauline is still going through the process of chutney-making as I finish. The kitchen stinks of boiling vinegar but I’m sure it will be worth it.



Mind you, I used to love cheese and chutney but I’m not allowed much cheese nowadays so I will have to rethink that.

Tuesday, 20th September, 2016

Overcast but mild again this morning. We have a forecast of 30C/88F returning next week but we’ll believe that when we see it. My job today is to make some decisions about new smart phones to replace our Sony Experias. Our 2 year contract is up on Friday. We can expect a new, ‘free’ smart phone if we sign a new, 2 year deal. We have been with EE (formerly Everything Everywhere) which expanded out of T-Mobile and Orange and its purchase by BT. Currently, I am torn between these two:

Sony Xperia X / Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

Does it matter? Probably not but we will be stuck with them for two years so attention is required.

We spent our couple of hours at the gym and I know you’ll find this hard to believe but the exercise time shot past because I was able to watch the Liberal Democrats Conference Leadership speech. The continuing Party Conference season will go on for a week or so  and help me through the pain of exercise.

Wednesday, 21st September, 2016

tatoosSigns of aging are everywhere for a 65 year old man. I realise this in the Health Club changing rooms when large proportions of men are covered in body art. I cannot even get close to understanding the need for it. Many/most of these men are not so much younger than me, are fat and well over forty and covered in ink. Why? I, personally, find it even more unprepossessing on middle aged women. Is it just me? Maybe, but we hear that employers don’t want to consider applicants who are covered in body art particularly if they are expected to serve the public. I have the same problem with bolts through noses or plastic saucers in ear lobes.

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about Athens being particularly quiet. At the same time people were telling us that Greece was experiencing record numbers of tourists. I’ve learnt to take this with a healthy dose of scepticism. Today, as so often, official figures released show that:


Greek tourism revenues failed to post a turnaround in July, bringing losses in the first seven months to to 345 million euros year-on-year, according to data compiled by the Bank of Greece …Travel receipts in the period from January to July declined by 4.8 percent year-on-year, reaching 6.78 billion euros. In July alone, travel receipts and arrivals went downhill on an annual basis: The drop in takings exceeded 100 million euros, or 3.5 percent, while arrivals shrank by 2 percent from July 2015.

In Greece, you can never take local reports at face value. The official figures almost always contradict them. Let’s hope the Poison Dwarf is enjoying her splendid isolation!

Thursday, 22nd September, 2016

A lovely, sunny day to greet the ‘official’ first day of Autumn. It is the equinox – equal day and night – and marks the start of the slide down into Winter. We are marking this occasion with a visit from my sister, Catherine, and her husband, Lorrie, who are coming for coffee. Later, we will go to the Health Club for a good workout.

mobsamI have decided on the phone I’m going to choose. It will be the Galaxy S6 Edge. It’s not the greatest smart phone in the world but we are not big users of mobile calls or texts. We will have two phones and two contracts which will cost around £62.00 / €72.15 per month and that is enough. It gives us unlimited calls and texts at home and in Europe plus 2Gb of data. A lot of our time is spent at home nowadays and our phones use the house Wi-Fi so the only time we need data is when we are out and about or abroad.

I like gadgets and this phone also allows me to do Wi-Fi calling when the mobile signal is weak and Wi-Fi charging which obviates the need for a cable. It’s got a 16 mega pixel camera which is as good as my dedicated and expensive SLR camera and it has, reportedly, excellent low-light capabilities. It will be a 2 year contract after which time they will give me two more new smart phones. The Sony Xperias we’ve got now were only released 2 years ago but are worth about £30.00/€35.00 on the trade-in market. The cost to buy the two phones we will pick up soon would be £900.00/€1050.00 from Argos. Once again, they’ll be worthless in two more years.

Had a lovely visit from my sister, Catherine and her husband, Laurie. Coffee and emotion flowed for an hour or so.

September 2016

Of course, family matters spilled in to every conversation and it was amazing to be sitting opposite someone who I’ve met only four or five times over the past 40 years but is intimately involved in my past. As I sat opposite Catherine, I fell back 40 years to my boyhood. Catherine is a lovely girl and I find it humbling to be with her again.

Friday, 23rd September, 2016

Ruler of all she surveys…..and she’s looking at me!

A really hot and sunny day of clear blue skies and no movement of air. Unfortunately, it was shopping morning so I didn’t have much chance to enjoy the weather but it’s not a problem. We have had plenty of sun this summer and we’ve got another month of it in Tenerife soon. I don’t think I’ll fail to get my quota of vitamin D.

Had to take a picture of Pauline to send to our friends on Sifnos so I thought I’d share it with you. It will become part of the Legacy Store. One of my many sisters, and I have six, is in Puerto Pollensa. There are nine of us altogether with about half already in retirement and the other half moving inexorably towards it. Soon the entire clan will be roaming the world looking for interest, excitement and pleasure. Look out world!

Saturday, 24th September, 2016

editorHappy Saturday. Phyllis has pointed out my constant failing to get the date right. I copy and paste from the day before and forget to update. Eventually, after compounding the error for a day or two, I check and revise. I have appointed her Executive Editor of The Blog. It is an honorary and unpaid position – before she asks!

It is a gorgeous, sunny and warm day. I’ve mowed my neighbour’s lawn and watered their plants. We joined forces to plant out some beautiful cyclamen plants that Catherine & Laurie brought us on Thursday. They look lovely.

Our new smart phones arrived this morning and I spent the rest of the day setting them up, copying calendars and contacts across – This is so simple nowadays with Bluetooth. I just had to sit them back to back with the old phone and Bluetooth across from one to the other. In the past, I had to rewrite lots of stuff. I had to set up ‘acceptable’ sounds for Pauline’s ringtone/Text Delivery, etc. Now I have to find which site will offer the best price for our old phones.

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