Sunday, 27th November, 2016
A scorching day. We’ve had too much sun. I would like to send some to Ruth but I fear it would have transmogrified into a ball of ice by the time she received it. The Sunday papers in UK seem to be featuring forecasts of exceptionally cold weather ahead. We are hoping to fly home to a freakily warm December/January but our hopes are just that.
In Greece, torrential rain has brought floods to the first island we ever visited, Zakynthos where a man has died in the storm which moved on to flood Athens and looks set to sweep the Kyklades and Dodecanese. Meanwhile, the Greek government are being swamped by fears of new demands from their creditors.
They only have themselves to blame. They agree terms in order to free-up bail out money and, as soon as they get it, they decide the terms are unacceptable and can be avoided. This plays in to the Greek psyche which, as I learnt by experience, takes pride in not living up to commitments. Unfortunately, they have met their match in German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble who is demanding ‘real’ fiscal rectitude.
About 27 years ago, Pauline & I were living up in the Hora on Simi.It was our first experience of the Dodecanese. Labour MP, Tony Banks, Minister for Sport had a house on the island at the time. It was a time of simplicity for Greeks. Their governments felt free to do what they wanted and the people acquiesced. Russia was changing and looked like embracing a bright, new future under Gorbachev and Yeltsin. It didn’t happen but the possibilities were there. Greece, on the other hand was still slumbering in the shadows with its komboloi and a coffee. They dreamed of nothing other than tourist takings. Dream on!
Monday, 28th November, 2016
Our last night of 28 in Playa Paraiso, Tenerife. After a scorching day and a lovely Dinner with
lashings of smoked salmon and salad, we are sitting outside under a starry, starry sky with the crashing ocean waves as our mood music. Tomorrow, it will be time to move on and live somewhere else. After Breakfast and final packing, a taxi will take us the 30 mins journey to the South Airport. It has a private lounge where we can relax until our flight departs. It takes just over 4hrs. Another taxi will meet us at Gatwick and carry us the 60 mins journey to our home.
We are beginning to wonder how easy this sort of travel will be after Brexit cancels the European Open Skies arrangement aka The single EU aviation market. Anyway, next week we are driving to France so that should be alright unless Le Pen has already been crowned. Next Summer, we will, once again, be driving across Europe and hope we can get across Italy before it leaves the EU.
Tuesday, 29th November, 2016
Breakfast at 7.30 am on a cloudy and overcast morning. We settled our bill – €71.00 f0r 28 days worth of sparkling water. Coffee in our room and then down to take a taxi off to the airport. Aeropuerto de Tenerife Sur is 30 mins by taxi away from our hotel. By 2.00 pm, we were in the air and back in our Sussex home by 7.30 p.m. It didn’t feel as cold as we were led to believe it would be. We did put the heating on for a few hours to compensate for it being off for a month.
The front door was blocked by a mountain of post which had built up over the month. It included announcements of our Winter Fuel Payment which I had already seen on-line in our bank accounts. We get £100.00/€118.00 each. Silly really but means-testing that would be more expensive than paying it out. The best way to economise on heating is to spend a month in the Canaries!
Wednesday, 30th November, 2016
November is closing with no Breakfast. It is wonderful and such a relief. I can get back to feeling empty and vigorous. The day is glorious with blue, cloudless skies and strong sunshine. Some cars around us have ice on them but ours is in the garage. We set off to Tesco to buy food for the week. We’re actually going to have to cook for ourselves. In Tenerife, Pauline had huge slices of papaya for her breakfast each morning. In Tesco today, she bought two papaya. They were very small. Later, we went to Worthing to pick up some orders and came across a wonderful market stall selling huge papayas. We bought two more. The photograph illustrates the difference in size and quality.
We had a great time in Tenerife and a month is almost long enough to start to forget you live anywhere else – particularly with my memory – but it was lovely to sleep in our own bed again. Unfortunately, Pauline was in discomfort from a series of, what we thought were, insect bites. They are in a line on her arm and under her armpit. She’s had them for five or six days and they haven’t got any better. Having consulted a chemist this morning, they have decided it is actually shingles. We headed off to the surgery to be told that there was little that could be done because the infection was too developed. She has to sit it out and suffer the discomfort until it subsides.
Thursday, 1st December, 2016
Farewell November and welcome December 2016. Happy new month to most of the Blog’s readers.
Cold outside this morning. The gauge read -2C/28F although there was little sign of frost, strangely. We have had a splurge of consumerism this morning but, first, we had to get some calamine lotion to treat Pauline’s uncomfortable shingles. She is really suffering with it at the moment although it hasn’t spread since Monday which is a good sign.
We have a full height fridge/freezer split 50/50 in the kitchen. The fridge is plenty big enough and we have a separate wine cooler but we need some extra freezer capacity so we are going to put a chest freezer in the garage. These things are so cheap and readily available. We just measured up, drove down to Currys and bought the second one we looked at. It had to be suitable for outbuildings. It has a 145 ltr. capacity and is delivered and installed for £120.00/€142.00. It will be delivered in a couple of days.
We are going to France on Tuesday so we can now buy food to bring back and put in the new freezer but my main intention is to stock up on game birds. We love pheasant. They are not so easily available in Sussex as they are in Yorkshire. I did find a butcher in Worthing who told me he could get some for £6.00/€7.10 per bird which seemed quite expensive. Today, I found a supplier a few miles away who told me I could have as many as I wanted for £2.50/€3.0 per bird. As soon the new freezer arrives, we will stock up on a dozen or so.
I bought a GTech cordless lawnmower in April and loved it. Why I thought it would be a good idea to buy a cheap and nasty, cordless, VAX vacuum cleaner I don’t know but it managed just four outings and then died. Fortunately, Argos took it back without argument and we thought again. Today, I spent a lot more money on a Gtech AirRam MK2 + Multi for £299.00/€355.00. Now, I’ll really have to do the cleaning!
Friday, 2nd December, 2016
I wonder if GTech is a Greek company. Certainly, their service is fast and efficient. I ordered equipment yesterday afternoon and received it this morning. It is quite cold here at 4C/39F but not uncomfortably so. Still, it’s taking a bit of getting used to after last month. With Pauline’s shingles and the fact that we’ve been away, we are not going to the Health Club today. We’ve got quite a few things to catch up with. I’m not drinking alcohol at the moment and hope to keep it that way well in to the new year so I reach for a non-alcoholic drink like Shloer. Usually, it costs £2.00 per bottle but is currently discounted 50%. We went out to Tesco to buy 24 bottles which saved us £24.00. Should get me through Christmas.
Ironically, I have had to move the wine racks in the garage to make way for the new, chest freezer which will be delivered on Wednesday. They are currently holding 120 bottles of wine and we are going to France next week which will, inevitably, increase my stock. There is a delicious sense of self denial and abstemiousness about storing all that wine but not drinking any of it. This is heightened as I carry it through Christmas and New Year.
Today, we received our first Christmas cards and began to prepare for sending our own. It actually feels a little last century to people who live on the web. We have a database of everyone’s names and addresses which I maintain and keep up to date. Pauline writes the cards. One year, I wrote in them: Best Wishes from Pauline & John Sanders. Pauline told me off for being too formal. I don’t know about you but I find it really difficult to receive a card from Bob & Jane. We know three couples called Bob & Jane. I like to know which is which. So you can see how I’m relegated to label printing. I’ve forgotten how to write anyway.
Saturday, 3rd December, 2016
Pauline is really suffering today and we hope her shingles is/are peaking. She has an antiviral tablets to take three times each day and she applies calamine lotion to soothe. Even so, she is fighting hard to carry on. We have only been out to our neighbours across the road who were holding an ‘open house’ get together. I hate these things but ‘needs must’.
The Christmas cards have started arriving in force. I received lovely cards from two of my sisters:
They have a slight similarity with ones we are sending. I wonder if you can spot the connection:
I always send ‘robin’ cards and, I suspect, people have started to notice. It is well known that all robins are Atheist and very feisty. That appeals to me. They are the ultimate symbol of Christmas. Of course, now I’ve spoilt it for those who are going to receive a card but it looks better in real life.
I’ve watched Chelsea beat Man.City (Boo!) and Arsenal beat W.Ham. (Hurray!) and England destroy Australia at Twickenham (Hurray!) and now Pauline is watching Strictly Come Dancing. We have eaten a lovely meal of Sea Bass and salad and all is well with the world. We are so lucky. Long may it remain.