Week 513

Sunday, 21st October, 2018

Another absolutely glorious day. They just keep coming. After breakfast, Pauline made bread – 4 large loaves – while I did the vacuuming and watered the pot plants. We decided that it was such a beautiful day that we would go down to the sea side and walk. We started on Goring beach next to the fisherman’s hut. He was open and selling fresh fish.

We walked on towards Worthing. A morning Yachting Regatta was finishing and the yachts being taken from the water and back to the clubhouse where drink seemed to be flowing freely on the terrace.

We decided to turn round at Worthing Pier. It had taken us about an hour to get there and we had another hour back to the car in the fisherman’s carpark. The Pier was busy and the ice cream sellers around were doing good business. Multitudes of children were living other lives in the play area and dogs, dreaming of exciting smells, strained on their compulsory leashes.

The hour walk back seemed to go much quicker and we were glowing as we got in our car to drive home.

Back in the garden, Pauline cooked calamari and served it with tomato salad and rocket salad – lovely meal to end a lovely afternoon. Still the sun beat down on the luscious green of the newly sown lawn. Hope you are enjoying your day.

Monday, 22nd October, 2018

The fun days continue. Peerless, blue skies and strong sunshine greet us after a clear and moonlit night. Pauline’s doing the washing while I catch up on correspondence. Seems a reasonable division of labour. We are off to the gym and swim around 1.00 pm and we will be back to griddle Tuna Steaks in the garden around 4.00 pm. The fish will be accompanied by tomato salad which I eat at least 5 times per week. I am just addicted to tomatoes.

Morning becomes Tomato

I was reminded of this by an article in The Times which describes the ubiquity of tomatoes in our culture. Tomatoes are such a mainstay of our diet that it’s easy to forget they were unknown in Europe until the 16th century, when they arrived from Central America.

Those early tomatoes would be barely recognisable to us today: they were yellow in colour and probably striped. The people of what is now Italy took to them quickly, calling them pomi d’oro – golden apples – which became today’s pomodoro. The taste of a tomato is a unique combination of five ‘tastants’ – sweet, sour, salty, bitter and savoury (Umami) compounds. That’s why they are so delicious. I grew them successfully last year and now I raid Sainsbury’s for them.

Tuesday, 23rd October, 2018

On Sunday, the temperature on Goring Beach was 25C/77F. On Tuesday, we were still in full sun but didn’t get above 16C/61F. Today, the sky is a little hazier but we have reached 20C/68F. Although we are off to the warmer weather of the Canaries in a week, it is possible that we will be hit by a cold blast before we go.

Zakynthos – Argassi 1981

We learnt while we were away that a girl – She’s a woman of 58. – who Pauline & I both taught and who is related to Pauline, has just retired from nursing and gone on a holiday to Zakynthos. She stayed in Argassi. It just so happens that we were there 37 years ago on our first foreign holiday together. We had been married for two years and had never flown before. In those days, there was no airport in Zakynthos and we flew to the old, Athens Airport – Ellinikon International – and then drove for about 8 hours across the Peloponnese to the port of Kylini, stopping only for a few minutes at the Corinth Canal and again in Patras for drinks.

In those days, Argassi barely existed.   A few houses, a couple of tavernas, a roadside shed selling local fruit and one hotel – the Mimosa Beach Hotel which I know is still there. We fell in love with Greece over that three week stay and the next year visited Naxos for two weeks and Milos for three weeks. We were hooked. We visited Greece every single year after that. We went to other countries too but always to Greece at least once each year. I imagine it will be that way until we can no longer travel.

Wednesday, 24th October, 2018

Another glorious day of clear blue sky and sunshine. Only 18C/65F maximum but delightful for all that. After years eating out in Greece, we love Marides or Whitebait which is known on some islands as Athenians or small fry. On a Greek island, the quality can vary enormously. Occasionally, the little, silver fish are carefully prepared but, generally, they are floured and deep fried in their crude and natural state. Often, it is served with Skordalia or Garlic Sauce.

Back in UK, these little fish are less easy to source particularly having been prepared. We are not natural shoppers at Iceland but we were told that they sold frozen, floured whitebait. We bought a pack at the massive cost of £2.49/€2.82. One pack is plenty for two people. They turned out to be fantastic quality and flavour. We got into a routine of buying 10 packs at a time and storing them in our freezer. We would eat them about once a week.

Suddenly, after nearly three years, Iceland  have dropped this line. I have been trying to find out why. Today, we were going round local branches to buy up existing stocks. They have ‘use-by’ dates of the end of 2019. They are being sold off at the grand price of £0.50/€0.57. At the same time, I have been lobbying the company’s management and, simultaneously, been trying to find out the source of their supply so that I can contact them. What fun you can have when your retired!

Thursday, 25th October, 2018

Another lovely day with lots of sunshine but a rather cooler at 16F/61F. Early out to the hospital for Pauline and then our weekly shop at Tesco. Actually, that was more difficult because we go away for a month on Wednesday so all our ‘normal’ purchases had to be tempered by that fact. Tesco had a special offer price on sides of salmon. We normally buy two but there is no point leaving that in the freezer to de-nature while we are away so we had to control ourselves. That done, we decided to take a day off from the gym and get small tasks done at home.

One of my jobs was reading up on Greek news. We are reminded, this week, of the source of Greek’s problems. In a week when Kathimerini’s leader article reflects that the Greek economy remains very weak and at risk in today’s worsening environment, with trade wars and market turbulence around the globe. International investors are already sceptical about the prospects of the Greek economy and it is becoming even more difficult for those investors to place their money in Greece.

Ironically, it is in this same week when it is reported that former Greek minister Yiannos Papantoniou and his wife Stavroula Kourakou were incarcerated in Korydallos prison near Piraeus port. Greek judicial authorities ordered that the couple be remanded in custody following their testimony on charges of money laundering. The 69-year-old former minister (in the Simitis government 2001-2203) and his spouse denied charges of having laundered 2.8 million euros/2.5 million pounds in kickbacks for a contract to upgrade six navy frigates, according to Greek, judicial sources. They were considered a ‘flight risk’ because of their Swiss property and Swiss bank accounts.

This is the background against which Greece’s economic and political system foundered and, with E.U. membership or not, it will only be salvaged until such corruption ceases to be endemic.

Friday, 26th October, 2018

Mump

Looks like today may be my last of wearing shorts until we get to Tenerife. It is forecast to be much colder. Today was only 13C/56F and felt chilly in the breeze. We had a builder here first thing to do a bit of ‘snagging’ and then went out to the gym. At least we were sweating by the time we returned home. The forecast is for 26C/79F for our first week away and that will do fine. In our own garden, many plants which are still flowering are going to get a shock.

Earthquakes, predictably, in Lancashire have stopped fracking for the second day. It’s beginning to play into the sceptics hands from the outset. Less predictably, Zakynthos/Zante in Greece, which suffered a massively destructive earthquake in 1953, has suffered another of 6.4-magnitude off the coast.

Earthquake – Zakynthos – 1953
Earthquake – Zakynthos – 2018

Of course, the destruction nearly 65 years ago was almost total. The destruction today was shocking for the residents but relatively minor. One, noticeable result was the splitting of the harbour jetty – no small problem for islanders!

Saturday, 27th October, 2018

Today is distinctly different. We have woken to 4C/39F but with a lovely, clear blue sky and rising sunshine. We are not prone to frost here and the extremes of weather are moderated by the coastal breeze and sea temperatures but 4C bites into one’s body through clothes.

Hall North to Kitchen South

Our back garden faces South and is sun-filled from dawn to dusk. The front of the house, with its north face, is very different. The transition from back to front has to be experienced to be believed. Fortunately, the kitchen where we spend so much of our time is at the back and sun floods in through the conservatory windows and doors raising the temperature massively when compared to the hallway and the front.

I have put on long trousers today. I was hoping to last a few days longer in shorts leading up to our flight to the sun. Never mind. Comfort before ambition. Today we are completing travel preparations. We are staying at the London Gatwick Sofitel the night before we fly. It means that we can drop our bags off at the airport the day before we fly and then just walk from our hotel through the covered walk way to the airport terminal in the morning carrying only hand luggage.

Packing preparation

When we get to Tenerife South–Reina Sofia Airport, we will take a taxi to our property about 20 mins away. The first thing we will want to know is the location of a reasonable supermarket to start the stocking up process. This morning, I’ve been searching out supermarkets in our area and then walking to them on google earth to check out their accessibility. Thank goodness for such modern technological solutions. Back on the analogue front, Pauline is finishing collating clothes and essentials for a month. Everything is being laid out in one of the spare bedrooms. Fortunately, we have all mod cons so clothes can be washed, dried and ironed. No need to carry hairdryers although we do have a 40kg hold luggage allowance. We rarely use anything like that.

We do take our own coffee and tea although we have found Yorkshire Tea does depend on the type of water available. We always take a multi-socket with integrated USB ports as the use of rechargeable multi-media has expended exponentially. Apart from iPads, Bluetooth earphones, smartphones and watches to be charged and interfaced, we now take electric tooth brushes, electric, tooth water flossers, and my shaver.We should save on our electricity bill for a month although we have had to pay an extra €50.00/£44.00 per week for our pool to be heated but that feels just fine.