Week 448

Sunday, 23rd July, 2017

Lovely, warm and sunny morning which lasted until 2.00 pm when the cloud came over and gave us a short, sharp shower. Since then, it’s been alternate bright/wet. Back home after three weeks on the road, we have been enjoying playing house. My Sifnos friend, Martin, is also enjoying his new house – the first he has bought for many years. We are so pleased for him.

Houses are so often milestones in one’s life with lots of emotional baggage stored in them. We have lived in 8 different properties together not to mention those we lived in before we met. We retired in April 2009 and put our Yorkshire home on the market. It took a year to sell. It was 7 years ago this month that we returned to our Greek home having completed the sale of our house in Yorkshire. That time has flown by even though a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then. We suffered the loss of Pauline’s Mum, moved between 4 more properties and sold our Greek home, finally settling in West Sussex.

Our neighbours in Yorkshire were really lovely people who helped us enormously. They owned a property in Spain and drove there each year as we were setting off on our drive to Greece. Sometime next year, we are considering a drive to Spain and hope to tap our neighbours’ experience to help us. How much of Europe can we drive round before they abolish it? Will there be a long transition period? Will we still be welcome after the Tory’s underwhelming offers to EU members currently resident in UK? We must make the most of the available time!

Monday, 24th July, 2017

Pleasantly warm and mainly sunny today, We have pottered rather than been dynamic. Think we are still coming down from our 2000 mile trip over the past three weeks. We did a trip to Honda to book a service. The car will go in tomorrow morning before we restart at the Health Club.

I did a quick check through the Blog on this day over the past few years. Only 8 years ago, we had just retired and were in our Greek home. More interesting than that was the fact that we were still placing an order for The Times newspaper which we got a day late from the island newsagent. Haven’t read an actual newspaper for so many years now. Three years and three days ago we arrived back from our last trip to Sifnos and got on with our lives. Soon we will return to Greece but flying rather than driving.

Tuesday, 25th July, 2017

The drive to and from Greece always left us needing a day or two to recover. Of course, latterly, there was six months to recover each way. Certainly, as we get older, we seem to take a little longer to get back to peak energy. After three weeks and 2000 miles driving plus miles and miles of walking around hot and noisy French and Italian towns, it has taken us four days to feel ready to go back to the gym. It is almost four weeks since we did our exercise program here. Before that, I mowed the lawns and valeted the car.

We drove to our Health Club and got stuck in to the gym work. I must admit, I didn’t find it as comfortable as I would hope. Still we pushed ourselves through 40 mins on the treadmill and 20 mins on the bike. We didn’t do any weights but moved out to swim.

Our Club has three pools – two indoors and an outdoor one which is heated all year round. That’s where we like to swim. While we were away, this outdoor pool was completely refurbished including being retiled. This afternoon, under 22C/70F of warm sunshine, we loved doing a 30 mins swim. The session is ended with half an hour in the Jacuzzi, Water Massage and Sauna followed by shower and home.

However, I have got in to the habit of stepping on the scales as I’m walking out of the changing room to leave. We ate well on our European Tour including Breakfasts in many hotels. I spent the time feeling absolutely ‘stuffed’. Of course, we did plenty of walking but I felt sure I had put on weight. When I weighed myself this afternoon, I found I had lost 4lbs/1.8 kgs. Let the Brexiteers take not – Europe helps you lose weight.

Wednesday, 26th July, 2017

The day turned wet by 9.00 am and continued that way until mid day. I don’t think the temperature got above 20C/68F all day. It did dry up in time for us to go to the Health Club for a couple of hours including a swim outdoors but it was never really ‘summer weather’.

Having spent the past three weeks driving and staying across Europe, we took a large stash of euros which we had forward bought months ago. I got a rate of £1.00 = €1.20. Currently, people are getting less than £1.00 = €1.00 from FX sellers. However, we did pay tolls, petrol and a few other things with credit card where it was easier. Our on-line account retells our travels and lists many ‘non-sterling transaction’ charges. Imagine our thoughts when we received a mobile call from our bank’s FX Fraud Department. Of course, it was a scam call and we didn’t give any information away. I immediately searched their number on-line and many people had reported the same scam in the past month. It doesn’t half make you feel vulnerable initially.

The Greek Government and Press routinely trumpet their confident expectation of big increases in tourism and so often they turn out to be vacuous claims. This year, the exchange rate is harming all European tourism and, it turns out, to Greece in particular. Kathimerini reported yesterday that international visitors to Greece have not met expectations in the first half of this year. Arrivals from the United States fell 18.2 % and receipts from US tourists shrank by a remarkable 30.8 %. It also appears from my research that eastern Europe – Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Moldova, Poland and Ukraine – are increasingly holidaying in the Greek Islands and they, traditionally, have less disposable income than Western European travellers.

Thursday, 27th July, 2017

Interesting day but not a Summer’s one. The temperature got no higher than 20C/68F with light sunshine and some light rain. We did our weekly shop at Tesco and Sainsbury’s and then went to Worthing to see the pier. It was our first time and probably our last. We walked the full length and then drove home. It is a perfectly respectable pier and all around it are the holiday makers fun-fare offerings. The pier itself had lots of fishermen casting their hopeful lines. The pier is quite short and doesn’t take much walking. It does have a nice tea room and restaurant but little else.

Worthing really is a holiday town. People really do come just for a holiday. I find it hard to believe but there is a Summer season here. Everywhere one walks there is the smell of frying fish. The sensation makes one quite nauseous although the queues food are long.

We bought swordfish and tuna steaks plus cod loins for our freezer. Today we had roasted cod loin with a herb crust and accompanied by tomato and cucumber salad. It was wonderful and not something you would find on the menus of Worthing emporiums.

Friday, 28th July, 2017

Rustington (village) Town Centre

We went on a drive around Rustington ‘town’ which is small enough to be a big village, down to Littlehampton Marina and along the coast towards the Goring Fisherman’s beach shack. Everywhere was really busy. It is quite a shock to realise that this area is absolutely still a popular tourist destination.

When I first contemplated retirement, I thought it would be a time to enjoy watching cricket. Then we spent our Summers in our Greek home where few people had even heard of cricket never mind received on their television channels. Today was damp and warm in alternating cycles but weather at the Kennington Oval was perfect for England’s bowlers to destroy the South Africa batting and I had time to watch it.

Ben Stokes’ batting was an absolute joy and his 112 laid the platform for a young, England bowler I knew nothing about at all. Toby Roland-Jones took 4 wickets in his first bowl for England and the South Africans were left 227 runs behind with 2 wickets remaining. England will have to enforce the follow on and finish them off completely. They will never have a better opportunity.

Saturday, 28th July, 2017

Happy Birthday to my old sister, Jane BG. I posted this card on Faceache this morning.

She is a committed European and, like me, an ardent ‘Remainer’. She even bought the hat!

Pauline & I have been married for 38 years and we almost never argue. We do bicker a bit but nothing ever worth remarking on. However, Dear Reader, I must tell you that I assaulted my wife last night for the first time ever. She yelled when I hit her and that woke me up. I never dream and, if I do, I never remember it but, when Pauline woke me up last night, it was because I had punched her in the left buttock. Fortunately, she has plenty of padding there but it was a shock to me. I thought I had been punching a politician under a desk ( Don’t ask.) at that moment and I was putting some force in to it. Pauline is walking a bit strangely this morning and I am using the other hand to pick up my coffee. Otherwise, everything goes on normally.

Do you follow Symi Dream? I’ve been reading this blog for a long time but my Norton Security software has started blocking the site in the past few days. I can’t quite make out why but would be interested to hear from others.

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