Monday, 21 December 2009

It was on the eve of Christmas... Well Nearly

Well it's all over bar the shouting so to speak. Sandra and I helped decorate the church in Blacktoft on Saturday and clear all the snow from the path so people could get in with out breaking multiple limbs en route. It was the Christingle service last night for all the kids Sandra took 4 of our Grand children and they really enjoyed singing carols and generally having a good time, this was followed by a party supper and a chance to talk to people who she hadn't met for a long time. I stayed at home and watched The eagle has landed for the umpteenth time and Top Gear which is the funniest thing on TV. May have a couple of Photos to add later when I find a lead for my camera as it's with the rest of the kit in Assos.

I Think we are all prepared now for the festive event we are having Chris (our middle son) and his three kids for Christmas dinner and Sandra's dad. Sandra's dad still isn't driving after dislocating his shoulder three months ago but hopefully they will clear him to do so when Sandra takes him to the specialist in early January, in the mean time we are using his car to get out and about so it's saved us having to hire one while we are home so it's not all bad news.

Three weeks today we will be on the plane back to Athens. We have decided to stay near Gatwick airport overnight on the 10th as this means that we will be more alive when we finally get back to our beloved Assos. This current cold spell, although magical to look at through the window is just making us realise more why we are really at home in Greece.

Merry Christmas and a happy new year to all.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Christmas is coming.....

Well it's almost that time of year again and all the prezzies have been bought and wrapped. Sandra had the grand kids in York at the weekend to get them all measured up for new shoes and coats etc. so the old bank account is now at an all time low, well nothing changes there then!

Saw 3 of the grand kids in their Christmas plays last week and they were brilliant but nothing more than you would expect from their lineage, OK perhaps not, but in truth it was the best pair of Christmas plays I have ever seen put on so congratulations to Gilberdyke Primary Sch
ool and of course all the children.

I went out with a few of the OLD guys from work last Friday night organised by Graham Copley, I had a great night out, it's nice to see good friends from a former life and we didn't talk shop all night (well nearly).
Back Row: Dave Bryce, Rob Watson, Neil Collingwood, Graham Copley, Paul Boocock
Me and Alan Cochrane at the front.
There was one absentee from the usual crowd, Ron Spence who I really missed seeing, probably because he's the only one to go for a ciggy break with!! Although Rob did oblige by bumming one in order to have the excuse to go outside and shiver. Anyway a great night had by all I think and good food and drink at a reasonable price.
We are now within four weeks of returning to Greece and I'm looking forward to it immensely. We have decided that to make the journey back a little more comfortable time wise we are going down to Gatwick the night before we fly and having a night in a travel lodge, this also has the advantage that we can hire the car for one day instead of two. We fly on a Monday morning and we were having to hire the car on Saturday, the hire company not opening on Sundays, and although they could deliver the car to us on Saturday for Sunday hire this would have cost us nearly as much again as the hire. So we are hiring from Saturday afternoon until Sunday afternoon and will deliver the car to their office at Gatwick airport and stop overnight and thus be refreshed for our 7am booking in time. We still don't expect getting back to Assos until around midnight local time so it'll be another long day.

We have someone coming tomorrow to have a look at our house here to assess what may be needed to put it on the rental market and also to give us some idea of what we expect to get for it. It just seems pointless having to pay Council Tax, Water Rates and Electricity DD's when you are not in the place. The electricity board won't take your word for it that the power is turned off and thus nothing being used so they keep sending you estimated bills which you have to pay albeit that you'll get reimbursed at some point in the future. The rates won't be reduced unless the house is not lived in and furniture removed and then I think they are stopped for six months and there after it is a reduced single occupancy charge which seems a bit strange when you aren't using any of the council services, but hey ho I don't make the rules.

In Greece the situation is much better if you have an electricity supply you pay all your local taxes as part of the bill, if you can get your supply via a generator or telegraph pole you get it free!!

Anyway Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year (in Greek
Kalo Christouyena & Hronia Polla)

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Back in Blighty

Well, nearly a week back in the good old UK and it's not been fit to be outside since I got here. Came back to a few problems with my central heating, washing machine and hoover but I think that they are all sorted now although I have yet to get the back off the washing machine as No. one son has decided he has more right to my Torx Screwdrivers than I have but I'm sure I'll get them back anyway. He has found me a nearly new washing machine to replace the one he broke anyway but I'm hoping to mend this one and take the other out to Greece with a bit of luck.

All the Grandchildren were really pleased to see us when we got home, I thought that Adam (8 on Xmas day) wasn't going to let go of me when I first saw him although he's probably the closest to his Grand dad. Sandra's dad was also really pleased to have things back to his version of normality. That said he's hardly been at home to see us since our return!

The weather has been diabolical since our return, either extremely cold or foggy and damp. I would really like to get my garden back into some kind of order but I'm afraid that I'm not going to risk catching my death out there at the moments but I'll soon have to do because it's only 5 and a half more weeks before we return.

The journey from Thesprotiko to Athens was very nice from a scenery point of view and Patras looks like a place we shall be visiting again along with Corinth but the bus journey was 6 hours to Athens although the driver did stop for a short break at Patras. We then had another hours ride on the bus to the airport and because we caught the early bus from from Thesprotiko rather than the 11 o'clock from Arta we than had five hours to kill at the airport. At Gatwick we were ages queued up for passport control and despite the fact the we had no hold luggage to collect we were nearly 2 hours before we were on the road home to Yorkshire arriving home at 4:30 am. on Saturday morning, it was a long day as we had been up since 5am Greek time so a 26 hour day. I think we'll avoid coming home at that time in the future and try and avoid the southern airports by trying to get flights to Manchester or wherever.

Thanks to all the people who have been kind enough to ask us about what we're doing and going to be doing in the future. I have put a few photo's and video on a DVD if anyone wants to see it.

Sandra and I have put up a few Christmas deco's this morning but to be honest I think I wold rather be doing it there than here. Catch you all again soon when the weather has improved and hopefully I'm not so miserable.