Thursday, 24 March 2011

On the Horns of a dilemma ...

I have pondered very hard this week on whether to write a blog or not given that the main event of the last week was the downhill soapbox derby and things went tragically wrong.  However, I have decided to write a short piece because I am fairly certain that Maureen would have not wanted people to do anything they wouldn't normally have done, please forgive me Mo if this is not true.  As I have already mentioned things went wrong in the race proper after the two time trials had been run to allocate grid positions for the race.  There were two unconnected accidents one involving a Greek boy, Pantazis Katsenis, who I am led to understand is going to make a full recovery but is still in Ioaninna University Hospital after having gone through two operations, more details of his progress can be found at for Greek speakers. His family wish to thank anyone involved in helping him on the day.

Mark is still in hospital also and an update of his condition is being constantly updated with the latest news and can be found by anyone who doesn't already know at

Mark and Maureen were among the first people we were introduced to when we first came to Lefkas over two years ago now and we have been firm friends ever since.  I'm sure that along with the rest of the expat population here (and also the Greeks) we are rooting for him and pray for a good outcome.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Weathers good but cold's set in....

New comfy "inside/outside" chairs
 We've both been feeling under the weather now for over a week, not that it's stopped us doing things it just means that you're snivelling and coughing all the time you are doing it.  With this in mind we've decided not to go to the St. Patrick's day celebrations nonight despite being asked to go by several people.  So I'd just like to wish all the Irish people we know and those we don't for that matter a very happy St. Paddy's day, try not to get too much of the black stuff down your shirts when you start missing your mouths!

Contemporary Sideboard I must be having another childhood.
Last Friday we went for yet another visit to IKEA to get the last of the furniture we needed for the house in order that Tree and Mike could have theirs returned prior to the letting season beginning.  It was really only a sideboard we needed but as usual we came back with more than intended.  Stools, Chairs, curtain rails, sideboard as well as IKEA food and Candles though why we travel two hours to get candles is way beyond a male mind!

On the way back we called in at Assos to see our old neighbours and friends before going on for yet more money spending in the supermarket at Preveza.  Got home with a real need for that Metaxa and Coke!
New trellis

Spent Saturday in the furniture assembly dept. which I quite enjoy doing but also helped Mike erect a trellis on our balcony in order that when the punters are in next door they can't nosey into our house, either that or we don't frighten them off too quickly.  Anyway whichever way it is the trellis is now in place and looking OK.

Blue flystoppers (or curtains as Sandra calls em!
We then had the curtain rails to put up for the voile curtains which Sandra bought some time ago.  The idea is that they will stop flies and mosquitoes getting into the house.  I have made screens for all the windows but the doors posed more of a problem this is our solution, will it work?  Don't know let you know when the dratted insects appear.

We have spent the rest of this week getting all the weeds out of the garden and the Gravel, none of this chemical thing for us you know genuine muck under the finger nails time.  The garden will be finished by tomorrow weather allowing and then there is the rest of the wood to cut up as a stockpile for next winter as I don't expect that we will need much more this year as the daytime temperature are now in the upper teens and have even hit the low twenties this week.  However you never know with the weather do you.

Not a weed in sight looking good!
We have had another Earthquake yesterday with a magnitude of 4.4 we even noticed a pronounced wave coming through Vasiliki bay afterwards, you wouldn't call this a tsunami though unlike the poor unfortunate people in Japan, hopefully we will never have to live through anything quite like that.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

What's this white stuff ?

Float at Nidri Carnival (CND hits Lefkas)
Big man another Carnival float
Our fan palms look a little in need of a warm cuddle!
Still some white stuff left next day at Lunchtime.
On Saturday we went to the carnival in Nidri which is held every year just before lent in an effort to over indulge just before the forty days of fasting begin in ernest.  The carnival started at Nidri at five o'clock and was still going when we left to have a meal at nine despite the bitterly cold northerly wind which was apparently coming all the way down eastern Europe from Siberia.  Some of the floats packed in a little early to take advantage of valuable drinking time in the local tavernas but others just carried on going around the town blowing whistles and letting off fire crackers and generally just having a great time.  All the floats would be moving to Lefkas town the next night to continue the carnival there.   We also went to Lefkas to see the floats for a second time as it seems a shame not to watch them when the people have put so much effort into producing the show.  However, we had a stop off at Maureen and Marks Yacht on route to do a bit of computer work and when we came out it was colder and windier than ever so we gave the second night a miss and went to have a meal at "Mama Mia's" in Nidri knowing that the place would be very warm and the food would be good.

Monday and I was beginning to think the Artic blast would not be abating so we remained tucked up in the warm all day.  Sandra made preparations for our evening meal as we were having Mike and Tree around for the evening.  Around tea time it started to snow which was totally unexpected, at least by us.  By mid evening when I went out for a cigarette I found there was enough to throw some snowballs at our guests which I'm sure pleased them no end.  Still plenty of the white stuff survived into the next day and the cold spell showed no signs of letting up.  Today is a total contrast, Sandra and I actually had lunch outside on the patio and although the wind is still chilly if you get out of the wind but in the sun then it's super.  The forecast seems to indicate that the worst is now behind us and the weather looks like a slow improvement for the rest of the week and weekend, so fingers crossed.  You don't really expect British weather two thousand miles further south!    Roll on Spring as I'm sure most people in the UK are thinking.

Today we have been making fly screens for the windows in preparation for the warmer weather coming in order to keep any flies and mosquitoes at bay.  Quite pleased with the results as the roller blind type ones which many people have are very expensive if you are doing a whole house.  Oh well off to IKEA again tomorrow and going to call in at our old village of Assos to see the folks there but more about that next week.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

The Wanderers Return...

Tired looking Sandra and I at Athens bus station having a quick slurp!
We had a really successful trip back to the UK everything got sorted with Sandra's dad's oil tanks and he is having a survey for the installation of a bunded (double skinned) tank this week to replace the remaining old tank after our efforts.  We also sorted out a few other things while we were at home with bank charges and accounts and moving furniture for Aunty and Uncle.  Managed to spend some good quality time with all the lads, lasses and grand kids.

I even had a belated Christmas night out with ex work colleagues which was a pleasant surprise to see the many old faces (some very old Rob although it could have been the stitches around your eye! (Just can't trust Hull City supporters can you.)  Also had a couple of nights out with our very close friends of many years Al and Jean and at last the Indian meal which I have been craving for months, delicious it was too.
Getting caffeine at Patras stop 

Bus for Lefkada
The Birthday boy and Liz wondering what to do with the creamy ribbon.

We set off for home at Midnight on Monday, Gary, number one son, took us to York station to catch the 1:30 AM train to Manchester airport, arrived here at 4:00 AM in good time to book in for our 6:25 flight.  We arrived in Athens at 12:15 Greek time (10:15 UK time) and unfortunately got held up in passport control by a large group of Asian people who the Greek authorities were checking thoroughly as they were none EU citizens, this delayed us half an hour or so but we managed to walk out and straight onto a shuttle bus for Athens Bus station.  Had we not been delayed we might well have caught the 2 PM  KTEL bus to Lefkas but as it was we missed it by about five minutes.  This was no bad thing really as it gave us chance to have a meal in the bus terminal whilst waiting for the 4:30 bus.  With just a stop off half way at Patras  for the toilet and a coffee and then we arrived at Lefkas town shortly after 9:30 in the evening to be met off the train by Tree and Mike our ever suffering landlords.  Tree asked us if we would mind a slight detour via Chicken Bills in town where Tony and Liz were celebrating Tony's 21st Birthday well 21yrs and 492 months anyway.  Of course we agreed and got a reception which would not have shamed the return of the prodigal son, it really is nice to know that people appreciate you being there, very touching. Anyway we arrived home at Vournikas at around midnight on Tuesday night having been up since 8am on Monday morning a little weary but very pleased to be back in the land of the Gods.

Got up Wednesday morning to wall to wall cloud and it rained all day and all night so we thought we had not actually come back to Greece at all but during the course of today the cloud has slowly cleared and now it brilliant sunshine and feeling very pleasant indeed.   Hopefully things will all settle down over the next day or two and we can look forward to having some chill time over the next few weeks.
The welcoming committee LtoR Tony, Liz, Deb, Jez, Tree and half of Mike with Tony's cake as a centre piece.