Sunday, 27 June 2010


Well we've been back in the UK for two weeks now and our feet haven't yet touched the ground. On top of this it seems like June is, for the first time in years, living up to it's billing as "Flaming June". It's not that it is particularly hot although 30 degrees is forecast for Sunday, it's just so bloody muggy. This isn't helping me with all the painting and things I'm doing ready for people swarming to the agent bartering to give me money for the rental of my house!! Half full glass I think!

We have converted the office back to a bedroom and painted it all god there was tons of junk in there, quite a lot of it from when I was werk, no wurc, no whirk, bugger it when I used to get paid by someone, so all this had to be destroyed it wouldn't do for someone to find company docs at the tip even though they are over three years old now. We've got rid of loads of furniture and the house is looking quite empty now but bigger as a result. Halfway through doing the upstairs bathroom at the mo but it's now officially on the letting market complete with a sign outside and an entry on the agents website so there's no going back.

Had to do a mercy dash to the hospital on Thursday as number two son, Chris, tried stopping a swinging one ton concrete lintel with his foot whilst up a ladder, bloody fool! It managed to trap his foot between a wall and the lintel a broke his 5th metatarsal so he's now in pot! That means yet more grass I have to cut! Good job he had steel toe capped wellies on or otherwise it have crushed his foot in a much more serious manner, he's 33 coming on 13...

This morning, Saturday, I took the eldest Grandson (15 yrs old), Dale, to have his suit fitted for Gary's wedding. He's six feet tall and built like the proverbial brick outhouse (rugby player) and as he emerged from the changing room he looked very smart in the outfit until you looked down to the bottom of the 3/4 length jacket and could see the gusset of his trousers down near his knees. I asked him to pull them up properly so we could see if the trousers fitted properly and he said he would but they would be half mast, it took ages to convince him that they would alter the leg length to suit and that you couldn't wear a dress suit with your pants halfway down your ass, although I suspect he would have preferred to have them that way. Oh well I suppose his dad's proud of him.

Tomorrow is a busy day (although I've just realised it is tomorrow 3:55 am). I have a run to the tip with the trailer to get rid of some more rubbish, I then Have to go to number three sons and rehang a door for him. Hopefully then back for the Grandprix and the footy than a BBQ with all the kids, lovely!

Friday, 18 June 2010

The Long Haul...

Well we have arrived back in dear old Yorkshire but there are a couple of things to cover before getting onto the journey and what's happening here.

Picture: Graham's Mountain - can you see him? He's near the top of the large scree slope (I think!)

For two or three days prior to setting off home Sandra and I had quite a lot to do what with battening down the hatches and getting the house spic and span ready to leave, or in reality to return to clean bedding etc. In this time we obviously couldn't take Dawn and Graham out as much so they were left to their own devices. Not a good idea leaving Graham to his own devices! He decided it would be a great idea to climb the mountain to the east of our house on his own with no kit at all (boots etc.) and to be fair on him he got to probably within 100ft or so of the top but there are many scree slopes and it's not to be taken as a stroll in the park so to speak.

Picture: The Damage! - and the glory - Graham points out where he was after we failed to spot him.

He kept ringing Dawn to get her to take pictures of him way up 3000 ft above, how you can find an ant like being on the side of a mountain with only a point and shoot camera I don't know! Anyway he ended up spending his last £10 of phone credit in the process of trying to explain where he was. His trip back down the scree was more eventful and eventually got back to the house with a pair of ruined trousers, holes in both buttocks and the leg torn to shreds, and also also holes in both of his brand new trainers from using them as brakes on the scree, not flavour of the month with Dawn me thinks!

Picture: Dawn Graham and yours truely waiting for the ferry at Igoumenitsa.

We set off for home on Tuesday with the ferry from Igoumenitsa to Venice, excellent crossing and we saw at least four pods of dolphins although none close enough for pictures. Unfortunately we couldn't get any pictures of Venice as we came into port because we had to be the first vehicle off so thus first down to the car deck and had to watch through mucky windows. The the ferry takes about a hour slowly going around all the islands in order to dock. It's a really stunning site and I hope to get some pictures when we return in September.

Picture: Just coming into Venice.

We came home via Milan - Gottard Tunnel - Basel - Strasbourg - Brussels and onto the channel Tunnel at Sangatte near Calaise and then back up to Yorkshire via the A1 which now is clear of roundabouts and much quicker than the M1. There is a total of 24.50 Euros in tolls this way much less than the French motorways and it's only a few miles longer. We stay overnight at the Eurohotel at Keppel-Grafenhausen in Germany, it's within a quarter of a mile of the motorway clean and not too expensive (62 Euro for the room and 8 Euros for Breakfast). Total mileage from Venice to home about 1200 miles which is about 150 miles shorter than from Ancona where we have previously sailed to. When we return we are considering the P&O ferry from Hull to Zeebrugge which will save us the journey down to Folkestone and also about 80 miles or so across the top of France and Belgium, I will report on this when we return.

We got home to a fine welcome from the kids and grand kids and they and Sandra's dad had managed to keep the gardens from becoming a wilderness so thank you to them for all their efforts. We have spent much of the time since returning getting things ready for renting off the house, so if anyone wants to live in beautiful Yokefleet drop me a line the house will be available after the wedding in July. Talking of weddings, Claire and Gary seem to have everything under control and there doesn't seem to be anything much for Sandra to start worrying about. I have to go for a fitting for my suit tomorrow along with our eldest Grandson Dale so that'll be interesting as I'm sure I'm heavier now then when I sent my measurements to Gary six months ago, but perhaps all this manual work I've been doing over the last week since we returned home may have started to have an effect!

Well that's about all for now hopefully there will be more next week.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

The last Assos blog for a while...

We have had a real eventful week since last weeks blog, taking Dawn and Graham around all the sites in the area. Last Friday we had a ride around the Amvraticus Gulf under the Preveza tunnel and around to Vonitsa, and then onto Amofilichia before returning via Arta home. It's a super ride out and managed to catch the market open in Amofilichia. Sandra bought a carrier bag load of oranges but really only wanted 6, I think the man thought we actually needed 6 kilos anyway that was what we got so most of them have been juiced for fresh orange juice.

The next day we had a ride across the mountains via Souli (which is the place the Greeks resisted the Ottoman Sultans forces and never succumbed to Turkish rule) over to the coast and our favourite place Parga. We then took them to our our specialist fish restaurant only to find out when the menu's were being read that they didn't really like fish!! Hmmmm. Sandra's face was a picture of dejection when she realised. Anyway, we managed to get some other bits and pieces to eat arranged and they did try some of our fish which was at least making the effort, I'm sure they enjoyed it in the end, well at least Dawn said they had.

On Monday we decided to have a tour of Lefkas island and also to catch a ferry from Nidri to the beautiful Island of Meganissi. The ferry across to Spilia Bay under the village of Spartachori only costs a couple of Euros each way and en route you pass close to Scorpios, the island which is owned by the Onassis family and I understand it is currently up for sale so if anyone has a few million Euros laying around it may be a good investment for the future, alternatively if it's just laying around you can give it to me to keep warm for you! We had a brilliant day and came home to eggs and chips LOVELY!!

Went to Ioaninna Yesterday and had a walk through the old town with Graham looking in all the shops looking for a goat bell with the right tone, testing the ring ability of every one he past, he finally found the right one (sound wise) and I asked the shop girl how much, she said thirteen euros and Graham asked me to offer her ten which she refused so we didn't get that one either. After a quick coffee/toilet stop we caught the bus across to the Island in the lake (Nissaki) were Ali Pasha spent his last days before dying of mortal wounds inflicted during the invasion of Ioannina by the Turkish Sultans forces after Ali Pasha who was original on the Sultans side was viewed as a threat. Nissaki is a marvellous place to visit and not at all expensive as it tends to be only on the Greek tourist route. Graham got his bell here for 5 Euro's so now he can plague the hell out of people at home as well!!

Today we have visited the Wetlands just down the road from us in the shallows of the Amvraticus gulf there is wildlife in abundance here including pelicans, egrets and flamingos although we never saw a flamingo today.

Oh well this will be the last blog wrote from Assos until September as we are returning to the UK next week but with luck I'll let the people (especially the Greek contingent) know what's happening with us there.

Pictures from top to bottom:

1. Cows all over the road on the mountain pass near Souli.

2. The view from the end of the pass overlooking Paramythia.

3. Graham in Parga Castle looking down over the little church Island in the bay.

4. Graham and Dawn in Assos's very own museum.

5. Taken in the streets of Spatachori, and fullfilling Grahams life long quest to look for Honda 90's or similar heaps.

6. Graham being Graham!