Sunday, 18th February
Not quite such a wonderful day with plenty of cloud although still warm. The past few days have certainly felt like harbingers of Spring. Birds have been more active. Neighbours have been cutting and feeding their lawns and, about 10 miles away in Brighton, people have been swimming in the sea. This lady was featured in The Sunday Times today.
We swim outside most weathers but at least our pool water is heated. Yesterday, we swam under gorgeous blue skies and sunshine. Today, the water visibly steamed up into the cloudy sky. In the past 18 days, we have done a gym and swim on 14 of them. We have swum 10.5 kms / 6.5 mls. It may not be impressive for good swimmers but I am rubbish, have a frozen shoulder and always precede my swim with 70 mins cardio vascular exercise in the gym. So, to be blunt, I’m fairly buggered before I get in the water. That is what I say to the old ladies who swim past me at least. It’s amazing how popular swimming outside is down here. However, Sunday is always a quieter day – probably because everyone’s out shopping – and today we had the pool (pictured on the right) to ourselves.
Monday, 19th February
Happy Birthday to my little brother, Bob. He is 66 today. He likes taking photographs and I like many of them. He didn’t take this one but it is very evocative. I think, ironically, that it was snapped on Bognor Regis beach over 60 years ago.
A disappointingly damp, grey day. Not cold but not inviting. I am seeing it through prejudiced eyes because I have a cold. We had already decided to have a day off from exercise and feeling under the weather has only confirmed that. Pauline did the last feed for our neighbour’s cat. Our neighbours are home from Cancun this morning.
We did go out for a while to drop off a parcel and then went on to the beach to buy fish from the fishermen’s shack but there was nothing available today. Obviously there was a poor catch last night. I had been looking forward to fresh sea bass for our meal but roast chicken was the substitute and fantastic it was too.
Tuesday, 20th February
A dull and fairly grey day at the start which brightened up as it developed and lit the water with twinkling sunshine as we swam in mid-afternoon. Because I am such a creature of habit, I find going out to exercise daily easier than returning to it even only after one day’s break. Nearly turned round in the car park today as we walked to the Health Club. Fortunately, my better nature/conscience (aka wife) stiffened my resolve and I left three hours later feeling wonderfully refreshed.
Exercise seems to have the opposite effect on me to the one my reason tells me. I go out feeling hungry and return from exercise not even thinking about it. Reason tells me that calories expended should mean increased demand for calories replenished. The opposite seems to be the case. As a complete ignoramus about how my body works, I have to seek higher authority for this puzzling phenomenon. Pauline tells me that exercise draws Glycogen from the body as I exercise and that will continue for a while as I drive home. What it is to have a wonderful wife who can explain all the mysteries of the world.
When I’m reduced to accessing BBC Bitesize, you know my level of knowledge and understanding.
I love my wife even more today because she has saved me around £100.00/€113.50. We received a notice from our house buildings/contents insurer today saying our cover would be automatically renewed in a couple of weeks and the premium would be – about £130.00 more than last time. Of course, we never allow automatic renewals and had specifically said so on the initial contract but they were trying it on as usual. What they didn’t allow for was my wife. If you know about stuff like glycogen then you can handle insurance companies. A quick search on the web found identical cover for £100.00/€113.50 less. It was with our current insurer.
When she phoned to enquire why, she was told that it was just for new customers. Pauline’s reply was that she would cancel her current contract and reapply as a new customer. After a pause, the sales girl answered, Well, you could do that but I’ll see if I can save you the trouble. Moments later, we were offered exactly the same terms as a ‘new customer’ without ‘sales’ having to fill out all the forms again. The price for Building & Contents plus legal cover fell from £297.00/€336.00 to £197.00/€223.00 at a stroke. That’s my girl!
Wednesday, 21st February
Spring is back again. Gorgeous sunshine flooding into the kitchen from the patio doors which are open to the fresh air. Quite delightful. My neighbours have started feeding and cutting their lawns. I’m holding off for another week or so in case winter turns back round and bites us.
I remember (quite) a few years ago in Yorkshire spending the whole of March and first half of April in balmy weather then breaking up for Easter and setting out for Manchester Airport for our flight to Athens. Out of absolutely nowhere, a blizzard hit the motorway. Cars and lorries were sliding off and into each other and it took us twice as long through terrifying driving conditions to make our flight. We did but the experience has never left me.
We did a lovely, full exercise programme this afternoon and the sun managed to hold out and light up the pool. Our aim is to do Tuesday – Saturday, a five, consecutive day stretch. Sunday will become a day of rest because there are so excellent football matches to watch.
Thursday, 22nd February
Gorgeous day from start to finish. It had been a clear, cold night although there was no sign of frost in the morning. However, as we drove out around 9.00 am, our car infotainment unit read 3C/37F and there was a chime as the icy road symbol appeared. The road certainly didn’t feel or look icy and it started us thinking that, throughout the two winters we have been living here, we have not seen a gritting lorry or grit on the road. Over 40 years in Yorkshire, it was one of the most common, Winter sights on the motorways we travelled.
We are told that some really cold weather may be on the way for our area. We were going to swim outside again today but it was so popular in the sunshine that we gave it up as not worth the fight and settled for longer in the Sauna and Jacuzzi instead. We still came home and griddled swordfish steaks in the garden which really is beginning to feel rather spring like in this wonderful sunshine.
Friday, 23rd February
Weekly shop at Tesco in wonderful sunshine but a chilly breeze. Mountains of salad, sides of salmon, swordfish steaks, tuna steaks, smoked salmon and then off to the Marina Fishermens’ Cabin to buy fresh, locally caught sea bass.
Compared with the farmed fish we see in supermarkets, these are expensive but worth it. Four, large sea bass cost £52.00./€59.00. Most of the fish, etc., is locally sourced and it feels good to be buying such quality food.
Did our 5th of 6 exercise sessions today and swam in sunshine twinkling on the outdoor pool as a raw breeze grazed our backs. After 70 mins in the gym and 30 mins in the pool, I am beginning to cramp and feel tired. Off to the sauna for 10 mins and then 20 mins in the Jacuzzi and water jet massage area before shower and home to smoked salmon salad. A lovely end to the afternoon and the sun is still shining.
Saturday, 24th February
The sun just keeps on coming. It makes one glad to be alive. A chilly start to the morning at -1C/30F but with no sign of frost at 7.00 am. By 10.00 am, Pauline is making chicken stock in the garden and I am luxuriating in reading the newspapers and blogs. It almost feels like a weekend.
The Greek newspapers are running an ongoing story about combatting tax evasion or just straight failure to pay tax. The state are tightening the screw by allowing authorities to access bank accounts, safety deposit stores, etc. to confiscate debts owed to the state. The Independent Authority for Public Revenue will first target major enterprises, wealthy (non) taxpayers, bars and restaurants as well as people illegally letting out property and failing to declare their incomes from the rent. The Greek state has hundreds of billions of euros still owing to it by corporations and individuals and that amount is growing annually.
Of course, Greeks want all the services of the state but just don’t like the responsibilities and costs forced upon them. It is almost ten years since smoking in public places was banned but you wouldn’t know it. That law is universally ignored in practice. Non-smokers are just starting to raise their voices and to demand that law enforcement is brought to bear on society. Greek Society and Law Enforcement are two, totally incompatible things.