Friday, 29 October 2010

The Move...

This week has been taken up primerely with moving house. Last Friday we took the first car load of stuff from Assos a week before we had planned to taking advantage in a break in the generaly rainy weather. Whilst in Lefkas with the first load we picked up the trailer we were borrowing from Tree & Mike to make it easier to bring over the major item of furniture and washing machine etc. Then it was back to Assos for our last night in the Epirus mountains. It's about one and a half hours from our old home to our new one so not really a problem going back to visit the good friends we made there. Up Early on Saturday morning to dismantle the satalite system and get the trailer packed as well as the car and top box once more and then with a wave and good wishes our life as Assos residents comes to an end.

Pictures 1&2: inside our new house house in Vounikas.

Lifting all the furniture up into the new house was backbreaking to say the least but at least it's now all done and dusted. Waher plumbed in and cloths lines tied up so Sandra can get on with her domestic science as she was beginning to have withdrawel symptoms.

We have been collecting wood and (after having borrowed Mikes chain saw) sawed it all up for fuel, it's absolutely marvellouse having not just one but two ways of heating the home up when we have been used to have little or no heat at all.

Picture: First log fire and lovely and toasty it was too.

We have had a few swims in the pool since we have been here the weather down at this level seems to be about four degrees warmer than what it is up in the mountains.

Picture: Sandra making the most of the pool while the weather is still warm enough.

We actually returned to Assos yesterday to check that everything was fine with the old house and hand the keys back, and also to say goodbye to some people who we missed with moving a little prematurely. Everyone seemed really pleased to see us you would think that we had been missing for months! Jorgos had also taken delivery of a new SKY+ box for me which I had ordered from England but it had not arrived when we left but fortunately it's nice to have friends.

Picture: We can still have our evening meals outside, well sometimes anyway!

Monday, 18 October 2010

Did the Earth move for you?...

We have had more than our fair share of rain this week, we must have had several inches over the week perhaps as much as a foot. This means that we have watched quite a bit of television (and also had to repair Yanni's downstairs so he could watch something also).

Picture: Water coming off our roof as it bucketed it down.

We would have watched some films which we had recorded on SKY+ but unfortunately the satellite box hard drive has eaten itself and so we are recorder less, never the less we have quite a few films etc on DVD and on our hard drive on the computer, and there's also television to watch. With the bad weather though this has been affecting Satellite reception too, we have been able to get most sky channels but not ITV etc most of the time.

The good thing about the rain is when it does clear it give us great views of the Amvraticus Gulf from our kitchen window like the one in this picture.

This week we have had a couple of nearly serious disasters. On Saturday we came back from the shops and I parked my car down the north side of the house where I always leave it to keep it in the shade. Just as I was about to get out of the car the retaining wall below collapsed, probably as a result of the rain which left the front left hand wheel hanging over an eight foot drop into the olive groove to the side of us, not a good thing I thought. Luckily I was in the car and sharp enough to get it started again and give it some boot whilst turning the loose wheel into what remained of the stone wall and with four wheel drive it had sufficient grip to pull me clear. The car isn't going back there again!

Picture: This is where the wall fell away, as usual the photo doesn't show much but the rocks at the top left are a good eight feet below that tire track, my wheel was somewhere near the pipe which goes over the edge.

The other potential disaster was on Sunday evening when we had an earthquake followed about forty five minutes later by a couple of aftershocks of about the same magnitude. At first we though the retaining wall at the front of the house had collapsed with the rain but it felt like a truck hitting the side of the house, the strange thing is that you could actually feel the direction it came from. We checked on the earthquake sites on the net which had the details within a fifteen minutes of the quake and it had a magnitude of 4.8 which is fairly small really and was centered near Parga according to the maps on the web site so it was only about twenty miles away if that. A couple of people have said that they felt it in Lefkas but not all and not those afloat at the time, seems that a boat is the safest place to be!

Wednesday was Sandra's Birthday and as the weather forecast gave a fine day we decided to have a ride to Parga for Lunch and then up the coast to Sivota and then to Preveza harbour front for an evening meal. Nice day, great food and a good time had by all.

Picture: Sandra in "Island Bar" in Parga waiting for some liquid refreshment to celebrate her birthday

The forecast is OK for the rest of this week and the weekend so we have but then more rain is coming in for next week so we have decided to make our move to Lefkada a little earlier than planned. It's no good being sat around here while the sun is shining and then move all our goods and chattels next week in the rain getting everything soaked in the process. With this in mind we have put the roof box onto the car put the seats down and got it rammed full of stuff to take to Vounikas tomorrow, we'll then bring back Tree & Mikes trailer and move everything else the day after so we have a busy few days waiting for us.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Yet more water...

Thought I had cured the leak last week but found out that it's still getting into Yanni's house, I suspected it was from the pipe which supplies our house which may be leaking before it enters the house. I don't have the equipment here to soft it and with only a fortnight left here I thought we would just leave it and see what happens but Yanni had different ideas! He called Spiros, who owns the house, and said that it needed something doing so yesterday we had a visit from the local odd job man Niko. Odd job being the operative word. He disagreed with me about the rising main and decided that it was our toilet and our shower (brand new last week!). Anyway he messed about with it for about five hours and then decided that after he had taken all the toilet cistern apart he needed a new part which he didn't have and so left us without a flushing toilet from mid afternoon yesterday until lunchtime today, big red bucket to the rescue. Today after repair the toilet is constantly dribbling into the pan, Niko has finished and the water is still going down below, he told me that he needs to rip out the bath as he thinks it's leaking underneath, I told him it's going to have to wait until after we leave when the water will be turned off and Yanni then won't have a leak anyway. IS GREEK SYSTEM!!

Picture: One end of the village seems to only have one "S" in the English spelling!

On Sunday we took Mantha and Jorgos to see the new house in Vounikas. They thought it was beautiful but didn't like the road up to it, which to be fair you don't want to be driving on after a few. We then had a late lunch out at a taverna in Sivota "No Problems" where we first when 12 years ago with our good friends Allen and Jean, although I don't think Jean will remember much of that occasion ;-)

Picture: Part of the Graden at the new house in Vounikas.

Tuesday it was back to Lefkada for us as we needed to go and discuss specifics with our new landlords Mike and Tree as they will be back in the UK when we actually move. All that sorted and a nice lunch with some of Tree's marvellous pumpkin soup enhanced with curry, and washed down with the obligatory wine it was off to Lefkas marina to catch up with some of the news from that part of the island. We went out for a smashing evening meal with Mark and Maureen and swapped stories of our summers as we hadn't seen either of them since May. In that time they had been to New Zealand and back so there was quite a bit to go at, so much in fact that I only caught the second half of the England match but I may have been better off missing it altogether.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Back to Normal...

Sandra arrived home safe and sound on Sunday after her stay in England taking her dad back home and catching up with what ever was happening on the family front. Her plane was half an hour late setting off in Manchester but was only ten minutes late in getting to Preveza where I was waiting for her. She came back on the last Monarch flight into Prev and there were thirty four of them on a two hundred plus seater aircraft so as you can imagine she had her pick of the seats, it seems there were about a dozen trolley dollies looking after them too! We had a welcoming committee at Assos when we got back with all the locals wanting to know how her trip had gone and was her father managing OK now that he was back in his own home etc.

Picture: Wild cyclemen down the hedgeside

Wednesday we had planned to go swimming to ligia beach but it rained heavily all day in fact there was so much water stood on the front garden that we could have saved the trip to the coast and just done it in the puddles. We settled down and watched some TV mainly stuff we had recorded but also the film Avatar which is excellent. Getting towards evening and Yannis came to the door like a drowned rat with walking through the rain to ask if our washing machine had a leak as he was getting water downstairs, I went and had a look and there was water seeping down his bathroom wall obviously coming from our bathroom not the washing machine as he had assumed, anyway I told him I would investigate.

Picture: Pomegranates ready for picking, super sweet mixed in a fruit salad.

Today I thought I ought to try and find out where the leak was coming from and as it's a good day today I can at least get in and out without getting wet. No that isn't true! When I found the leak which was coming from behind our Bath/shower mixer and squirting backward into the hole in the tiles where the pipes are secreted I took it apart and applied some PTFE tape to improve the seal and when I got it together again and the water turned on the mixer tap fitting broke and drenched me before Sandra could get to the mains tap to turn it off again. So I've had to go down into Thesprotiko and purchase a new mixer tap which just happens to be complete with shower head and fittings so a complete new job. Anyway it's fixed now so something less to bother about.

Picture: The Church at the northern side of Assos.

We went for a walk around the village on Tuesday as this was maybe our last chance and the flowers are now re-appearing after the rain we had last week so I took a few pictures. We stopped off at our good friend Couler on the way back for a beer and to make sure she knew we were leaving for Lefkas at the end of the month. It seems that the whole village knows now and they all seem to understand our reasons for doing so. All the pomegranates, Grapes, figs, and Walnuts are ripe now and we have been both helping ourselves and given vast quantities.

Picture: Sandra sat outside Couler's Kafenion.

Sandra has been down to Jorgos and Mantha's Kafenion today to cook Chilli for them Mantha loves Sandra's chilli although Jorgos isn't over keen. It turned out that there was none left when we left the table though.