Thursday, 26 May 2011

At last Spring has really sprung....

Jez, Geoff & Sandra at "Mad Mary's in Vasiliki.
 The weather has now definitely taken up and although we still keep hearing rumbles of thunder in the distance the day time temps are now set in the upper twenties and it's pleasant to sit out until bedtime.

Last week we had a night out with Jeremy and Debbie at the penguin taverna in Vasiliki affectionately known at this end of the island as Mad Mary's, if you had met Mary you would understand why.  She spent the entire evening giving a new waitress hell, the girl, a Latvian, seemed to have vanished before we went home so I'm not sure if she told her what to do with the job.
Monarch Moth on our wall.
 We had left the outside lights on for when we returned and amongst the hundreds of insects which has settled on the wall near the light was a huge moth.  A little research on the net seemed to show it as a monarch moth.  It seems they can reach about six inches in wing span this one being about four.  The next morning Geoff went outside before breakfast and came back in with a pair of detached wings which looked suspiciously like those of our friendly moth so whatever had eaten it preferred breast to wings.
Sanny having a swim and now it's hot I've been in too!

Sandra and her dad looking out over the south of the island

Porto Katsiki beach.

The house that Tony built (spare room for rent)
With the weather improvement Sandra has been a regular in the pool.  The trend had been set by Liz's friends, Julie and Derek who have been living next door for a couple of weeks and of course not to be outdone Liz and Sandra also had to have a dip.

I waited for a few days until the air temperature got to a more sensible 28C before I took the plunge.

Monday and we decided that we should introduce Geoff to the beautiful west cost of the island.  We had a ride across country to where the Lentil growing capital of the world is at Eglouvi I think I may have mentioned it in more detail in a previous blog, and from there we went to one of our favourite secluded bays Gialos near Athani and then to Porto Katsiki before returning the scenic route down to Vasiliki.  A good time was had by all.

Yesterday We spent the day at Tony and Liz's Attempting to make Tony's domestic water system independent from the mains as they have very high

 pressure and also the supply is rather fickle as a guy up the hill keeps turning the taps off so he can have some water.  Anyway, the header tank needed a shed building over it to protect it from the heat of the sun a large extent thus preventing the water from heating and the chance of any legionella  spores breading there.  This has turned out to be a bigger job than I think either of us anticipated and is still not actually completed after another days work on it.  The pressure is really not adequate and it looks like he's going to have to re-mortgage to find the funds for a water system pressure pump.  Hey Ho, I'm sure he'll take it all in his stride

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Slow build up to Summer...

View from Elena's in Geni
 We have been avidly keeping up to date with Mark and Maureen's progress now that they are settled into the rehabilitation unit at Pinderfields hospital in Wakefield.  It's really heartening to hear that things are progressing so fast and so well for Mark and although we do understand that it's an uphill struggle and small triumphs are really hard fought for, it's a testament to both of them that the will and strength of character is big and bountiful in both.  Keep it up guys we're still all rooting for you.

While Sandra was in England Jez and Deb took me to a little restaurant in Geni near Vliho which I found really charming and resolved at the time to take Sandra and her dad there when they got back.  With this in mind we went the other night and had a super meal in great surroundings and at the right price.  I can heartily recommend "Elena's" at Geni to any people who either live out here or are thinking of coming at some point for a holiday. 
Geoff savouring the Greek delicacies.

Sandra sheltering from the sun Amvraticus wetlands.
 On Monday we decided to have a day out on the mainland and take Geoff around the wetlands which is a national park area to the north of the Amvraticus gulf.  Many permanent and migratory birds take up residence in this area every year plus loads of other wildlife.  If you are lucky you will see Flamingoes and Pelicans in addition to the more common Egrets etc.

We also managed to see a huge tortoise on the unmade road which runs nearly to Arta down the Gulf side, it must have been ancient if the size was anything to go by.  I think Geoff was really impressed by what he saw but was much less impressed by the large insects which live in that part of the world especially some huge flies a little like horse flies, they looked like they may do you a mortal injury!  There are millions of different plant species here so a fantastic place to visit should you be interested in natural history.

The Amvraticus wetlands
Onward from there and a little shopping in Arta as we always seem to do if we are in the area, got filled with Diesel at mainland prices €1.435 as against €1.493 the cheapest on the island although you can pay up €1.58 at some garages here.  I really don't know how there can be a 15 cents per litre difference.  After the shopping we went on to have a ride around Λιμνι Ζηρου ((Lake Zero)Greek Spelling for Jez) via Fillipiada.  This is the area where the local Greek population hid all their children from the German troops in the second world war and it was later made into an orphanage to accommodate the hundreds of children who's parents were killed or displaced.

Cacti just coming into flower
We called into see all our old friends in the village of Assos while we were in the area and as usual those we managed to see were delighted that we had taken the time to come and visit them, they were also over the moon that Geoff was with us as they had not seen him since last September and always ask after him whenever we return there.  So after a couple of hours chewing the cud in our very best Greekish we left for an evening meal at the Mythos Taverna on the town quay in Preveza before going home to dear old Vournikas.

Geoff admiring the wild flowers and looking for seeds.
This week the weather has been changeable and although pleasantly warm, in fact a little hot on occasions we have had some rain, it's almost as though the weather gods don't really want to move into summer mode just yet.  Sandra has managed a couple of swims in the pool but I'm not quite that brave just yet, I put it down to her having more insulation than I have, I may just get battered for that one!  We went out last night for a meal with Kev and Linda to Festino's in Lefkas town, I do like their steaks, and had to take the car from the marina to the restaurant as it was absolutely throwing it down with rain but it didn't dampen our night out we had a really good get together with Kev & Linda who we don't seem to have seen much of lately, thanks guys.

Just had a walk around the village this afternoon to perhaps take a few photo's of the wild flowers but as usual a took about three photo's and the camera ran out of battery power, I must remember to charge the bloody things more often.  Anyway it gave Geoff a chance to gather even more seed and plants in order to take back to the UK to create his own Mediterranean idyll.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

The arrival of "Babas"

Tired little worker!
Sandra and her dad safely arrived back at Preveza airport on Sunday which brought to an end to my week of exile and having to feed myself and do the domestic science thing!
It was nice to have them both back here where I could just hand out the orders and get a cup of coffee without having to move ;-)

I have had to make sure that was some work to do for when Geoff arrived so I had left the remaining stock of fire wood in it's raw state for when he arrived and sure enough by the time he had got his feet under the table he was asking what he could do to help.  So with this in mind on Tuesday we set about cleaning up the long branches and sawing up logs to get our stock of winter fuel  a little more replenished.   We had got about half way through it by the time tea time came and Geoff was looking decidedly jaded  so we'll leave the rest to do at a later date.  As can be seen from the photograph above he was soon zonked out in a chair and giving it bids Zzzzzz's.
Me trying to find "Ratty" on the shelves with Geoff and Liz on Guard 

This morning Sandra heard a scurrying in the garage which turned out to be the return of our furry friend Ratty rat.  Although I knew he was up on the shelving he made a good job of avoiding me and I could not flush him out.  Overnight the rat poison which I have been laying out for weeks had vanished so I think he has just come in from the outside thinking that this would be a suitable place to make a home and bring up a family, think again sir!  Geoff and I have strimmed all the rough Grass around our house and next door after the rat hunt so once again we've earned our keep and Geoff is again asleep in the dappled shade of the patio, it's a hard life but someone has to do it!

As yet we've not been out and about much, just had a meal in the local taverna with Liz & Tony and the couple who are staying in Tree's villa next door but tomorrow we are going to convert someone to Sky+ so that'll allow him to a little more of the Island we may have a "tourist" day on Saturday and visit a beach on the west coast who knows.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

A very quiet week for me...

There are no pictures this week as I haven't really been anywhere as I am doing all the chores left to me by Sandra who left for the UK on Sunday from Preveza airport.  The airport was full of people we knew taking the first flights back to the UK from our local airport after the winter, the first flight to Gatwick seemed quite full although someone did say that there had been a flight in the week before, the Manchester flight however only had about thirty people on board so that was great for Sandra.  The alternative is to catch the KTEL coach from Lefkas town to Athens and then the local bus to Athens airport and from there onwards to Blighty.  But from now until October there should be flight availability from Preveza only one hour away from our end of the Island and only about half an hour from Lefkas town.  

I have at last had the telly to myself on an evening and been able to watch some of the films which my sons gave me which Sandra doesn't like and I can watch the history channel to my hearts content.  I have at last installed the cooker we bought about five weeks ago, it took me about seven hours to put the cable back to the mains from the cooker as it involved some major dismantling of kitchen units to hide the cable.  I didn't want to start chasing out walls etc. as it's not my house and it isn't fair to start knocking things about.  I have also painted the chimney breast, washed the car twice because of the "red" rain we have been getting (and it's still not clean!) done the flower beds and pressure washed Liz's outside wall downstairs which was going green/black with algae.  So you can see I have been a busy bunny while been home alone!

I have been out for a meal to Vasiliki with Tony, Liz, Deb and Jez which was very nice and I got a bottle of wine given by the restaurant to bring home for Sandra (it's white).  Jez and Deb had guests staying with them, his ex-business partner and his sister.  They were great company and I thoroughly enjoyed my evening, in fact I may be eating out with them again tonight!

Anyway, must get on now as I'm taking advantage of an empty house to give my guitar a good thrashing, not for the faint hearted!!