Week 600

Sunday, 21st June, 2020

The arrival of Week 600 has coincided with the Summer Solstice and the Longest Day. Only 8 more years for the 1000! For those who read the Blog, it probably always feels like the longest day but this one marks the start of Summer. The start of Summer? it’s almost over isn’t it? Certainly this coming week will feel much more like Greek Summer. We are forecast 4 or 5 consecutive days around 30C/86F. Today and tomorrow are a cool 22C/70F but that’s alright.

Having written a couple of weeks ago about seeing virtually no rain for the past three months, we have woken up over the past three mornings to find it had rained over night. If this is the new normal, bring it on. I cut and fed the lawns just before the first rains and they are now looking lush, green and in good health. the tomatoes are really fruiting well, the peppers are flowering and the figs are swelling and just starting to colour up. Really, these are the fruits of Lock-Down activity. In addition, we have acres (exaggeration) of successions of lettuce which we eat almost every day.

I eat a lot of smoked salmon. It is quite self-indulgent in its price – a moderately priced fish with ‘value-added’. That is cold smoked. We have been thinking of adding our own value to the wonderful salmon we buy every day around here.

A ‘starter’ Outdoor Smoker.

Today, Pauline is ordering me an outdoor portable smoker and some oak chips to smoke my own side of salmon. That will be fun to try. I just spent an hour watching videos on YouTube of how to cold smoke salmon. Fascinating.

Monday, 22nd June, 2020

Up early on a beautifully sunny morning that. again. reached 22C/70F. Clear, blue sky and delicious sunshine. We were setting out on a 6 mile round trip to Dunelm. Usually, we would jump in the car and be there in less than 5 mins.. Today, it was an excuse to get our exercise done. We walked there and back. Pauline had selected Click & Collect which we did but it took us 80 mins overall to get home. Amazing how pleasant the walk was and didn’t feel demanding at all. The car is feeling quite neglected. We carried our new, kitchen blow torch back home.

Back home, my job was water & feeding the tomatoes and the peppers. They are really coming on. Tomatoes already heavy with fruit. Peppers are in flower. I also gave the figs, that are covered in swelling fruit, a long drink from the hosepipe. Tomorrow, the lawns will be cut, fed and watered.

During the enforced closure, lots of establishments – pubs/restaurants have taken the opportunity of improving their properties. Down a muddy lane, we have a pub called The Spotted Cow. It is very popular. The owners have spent the past three months refurbishing the outdoor furniture and the gardens, repainting the outside and generally sprucing the place up. Although I am not a frequenter of pubs, it looks very inviting.

Development near our old home in Kamares.

The house we designed, had built and lived in on Sifnos for 10 years is the long, white streak in the top, right hand corner. The land on the mountain side lower down the road towards the port has laid bare for millennia. Now, slowly and quietly, development is taking place on the ‘hot’, ‘English’ side of the bay. Shows optimism at least. Look forward to seeing the completed buildings next year.

Tuesday, 23rd June, 2020

A rather bitty day. We were out early to shop at Sainsbury’s at 7.00 am on a very warm and sunny morning which eventually reached 26C/78F. I did a 4 mile / 6.5 km walk while Pauline shopped. Home for coffee and then we built our food smoker. It will be in use by the end of the week. I mowed, fed and watered the lawns while Pauline made a first harvest of the herb pots on the patio for chopping and freezing.

Our quarry garden – 2010

Ten years ago this week, we had returned to Yorkshire from our Greek home to clinch the sale of our Huddersfield home. This week 10 ,years ago, our buyers got their finances in place and we were finally certain the the sale would go ahead in the following week. This was good because we had flights back to Athens booked for 6 days time. We just made it. It was a happy time in Quarry Court.

We flew back to Athens and then by ferry to Sifnos where our garden had been watered automatically while we were away. We were trying our hand at growing vegetables in Mediterranean climate and on rocky island soil. It proved quite a difficult learn and, when went out into our vegetable garden after a month away, we didn’t expect to see the massive tangle of weeds and vegetable plants that presented itself to us.

In spite of that, we had vegetables as I proudly recorded even though it would have been so much better if we handed tended them.

Fruits of Neglect – Greece 2010

We drove back to UK in October 2010 homeless. We went to live in an Old People’s Home where Pauline’s Mum, who was 96, had lived for more than 30 years.

Mump – 2010

We stayed with her as she went in hospital, went through a serious operation and died less than three weeks after we had got home. It was an awful , awful time.

Wednesday, 24th June, 2020

The heat really hit the fan today. Woke up at 6.00 am to 18C/65F. Breakfast and out to walk along the sea shore at 8.00 am in 22C/70F of brilliantly Mediterranean skies.

Littlehampton Beach – 8.00 am.
The Garden on the Beach.

We walked for an hour – about 5mls/8kms – and then drove home for coffee and a long afternoon of garden watering as the temperature hit 31C/88F. If we had been in Greece, we would have stayed mainly indoors. Automatic sprayers are such a boon. I was able to intensively water front and back lawns plus the beds lining the drive without leaving my seat in the sun.

Thursday, 25th June, 2020

Up at 6.00 am to a temperature of 22C/70F. Out to Tesco by 7.00 am for an 8.00 am opening. I set off on my 5 mile/8 km walk only to be interrupted by a phone call telling me that the store has reverted to its original 7.00 am opening so I would only have 30 mins for my walk. I started to run. It was hot work. Even so, I was only 10 mins late back to the car.

Approach to Goring Beach.

Home for coffee and then out to Goring on sea beach for a walk in the sea breeze cooled sunshine. By 9.00 am, it had reached 30C/88F and, by the time we set off home at 10.00 am, it was the full 32C/90F – hotter than Greece and much of Spain. This is the sort of weather Pauline and I relish.

Home to enjoy the garden and water the lawns. Actually, it was just to hot and intense out on the garden furniture and very reminiscent of our Greek house patio which proved painful to walk on by mid day without shoes. I scalded the soles of my feet out on our patio flags this morning. We felt bad sitting inside on such a day and decided to take the car to explore places we had never been.

Swanbourne Lake, Arundel

Our housing development was given the temporary name of Swanbourne Park by David Wilson Builders. It was one of those advertising titles designed to catch the buyers on a website. We didn’t even bother to consider what it referred to. Today we found out. We drove out just 4 miles/6.5 km to Swanbourne Lake and Wetland near Arundale. It was quite delightful but dominated by seagulls on their holidays from the seaside.

Friday, 26th June, 2020

A warm but very humid day which didn’t read higher than 23C/74F but felt much hotter and less comfortable because of the humidity. All the doors and windows open found very little air movement and we couldn’t go out because we were expecting a delivery of flags and builders and for the back garden. We knew that these things would be annoyingly inconvenient and it has started today with a delivery time posted as 8.00 am – 7.00 pm.. Go to Jail & Don’t Pass Go!

Samsung Galaxy S20 5G

Tomorrow, after 24 months of our smart-phone contracts with EE, we are entitled to new phones. Actually, we have been very happy with our current Huawei P20 Pro contracts costing us £40.00/€44.00 each. However, Trumpian politics has led to the blacklisting of Google Apps on Huawei platforms.

The former is more important to us than the latter. Google Pay, Google Maps and our integrated calendar, etc, are all going to be lost on our Huawei‘s and ‘free’ phones worth around £1000.00/€1,100.00 each on the open market are not to be sneezed at. Just to add to that decision, the ultra fast 5G network which is already in Brighton just 10 miles away from us will make a huge difference. It will mean our contract price increases by about £20.00/€22.00 per month but it will be worth it.

I must admit that I use my smartphone more for its computing and photography utilities than I ever do as a phone. In that respect, I am much like my generation. At home, I reach for the landline long before I do the mobile. I have no idea why. All calls are ‘free’ – within each contract plan. Even so, I don’t make many phone calls anyway. I never have.

The building supplies arrived by mid afternoon by which time, I had fully valeted the car. As I did it, I realised that we hadn’t filled up with fuel for more than three weeks and we still had 250 miles in the tank. Now, I have a sparkling car in the garage with nowhere to go until Tuesday unless we decide to go on a jaunt. Anyway, now we were free to go out for a long walk in the sunshine. I have only failed to miss my exercise target once in the past five weeks. My alcohol consumption slipped a bit in the hot weather. I’ve drunk wine twice in the past five weeks which is not bad for me.

Next stop, a trip to France. We need a change of scenery.

Saturday, 27th June, 2020

Raining… Hurray! Warm but raining this morning and continued until 11.00am. The garden is loving it. I’m ordering the new phones and preparing to organise a French trip through the Tunnel. We heard that Eurotunnel’s booking site crashed under the release of pent-up demand. We will give it a few days before booking.

For the past couple of mobiles which means about the past 4 years, I have chosen leather flap covers because I got in the habit of dropping them from considerable heights onto hard floors. However, recent developments have hastened shops to accelerate use of self-scan and contactless pay using smartphones. Sainsbury’s and Argos have an apps that make shopping so easy with one’s phone – scan the barcode, itemise one’s purchases and keep a running total of expenditure. This process requires access to front screen and back camera all the time. This is infuriating with a cover flap.

Having said that, the cover has saved the quality of my old mobile so that I will now trade it in for £115.00/€127.00. I am buying an alternative back cover to counteract dropping and a screen cover to counteract scratching.

%d bloggers like this: