Thursday, 29 September 2011

Another week in paradise.

Grandson Adam doing a bit of Gardening.
 The weather situation has improved since last weeks "tempest" which drove though Vliho and did so much damage, I'm pleased to report that things seem to be almost back to normal now and at least with a casual glance around all the yachts have their masts pointing upwards although there are still a few with no masts to point anywhere!  The locals seem to have put a great deal of effort into getting things back on an even keel, so to speak, and minimise any disruption to the holiday makers.

Some damages to "Izola"
While we are over here in Lefkas we are very grateful for the help of of family in keeping things ship shape at home as can be seen by the picture above even nine year old Adam has his tasks set out for him, well done Ad!

Tony and I took "Izola" back to Lefkas Marina on Friday, she suffered some damage in the storm but got off fairly lightly in comparison to many other boats and properties.  You can see from this picture that the Stanchions have been pressed into the deck when the boat moored alongside rolled over into her, which will need some remedial work and also the foresail got ripped with the wind.  When we took the sail off for repair it wasn't anywhere near as badly damaged as we at first thought though and it's currently sitting with a "man who does".

By Jiminy - It's a cricket...
A couple of nights ago we had a visitor sat on our balcony while we ate our tea, Jiminy Cricket, unfortunately he forgot to bring along his top hat and umbrella!

Washing the sand away
 We spent yesterday at one of our favourite beaches, Gialos Beach.  Tricky road to get down, well steep and winding but you end up with a couple of miles of decent beach almost to yourself and deep blue azure sea which is like a tepid bath.  With it being sort of out of the way and quite you do get the occasional nudist or naturist down there.  Yesterday we had a guy kept walking past us with only a shoulder bag to hide his modesty but at least he made me feel a little happier about myself!!  Sandra couldn't keep her eyes off him and so I had to struggle to put the beach shelter up on my own!
The water ain't this clear in Bridlington!

Just us and the beach!

I know this picture doesn't really do it justice but when you watch the water rolling in you can see right through the face of it down to the cobbles beneath, a very hypnotic affect.

Well I suppose that's about it for this week, just going to have lunch and then maybe a walk as the weather is only now in the mid to high twenties it feels fresh enough to indulge in a little light exercise.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

A tale of two weathers...

When we returned to Lefkas the weather was extremely hot with the temperatures in the mid to high 30's consistently day after day (and night after night).  This had apparently been the case for a large part of the summer.  It eventually broke on Monday evening with loud and prolonged thunder storms which rattled around the mountains like some ancient cannon battle happening all around.
Spectacular sheet lightening illuminating the entire cloud base every few seconds, and then came the rain!

We had driving rain which pierced all our defences on the house, we got a big puddle on the kitchen floor which had come from the rain driving through the shutters past the windows themselves and onto the floor, unbelievable!  We battened down the hatches and brought anything which was vulnerable into the house so it would not be damaged and snuggled down for a cooler night in prospect.  The Thunder continued overnight so sleeping wasn't really an option given the volume of all the crashes but things seemed a bit better by Tuesday morning although heavy thundery showers continued most of the day and there was so much static in the air it was making my hair stand on end.  Unfortunately the roller shutter canopy over next doors balcony didn't survive the night and as of today, Thursday, it's been disassembled and back to the suppliers for repair.

In the early evening we watched a fantastic cloud formation roll up the valley towards us at alarming speed.  The nearest thing we can compare it too was the seen from "Wizard of Oz" where Dorothy is clicking her heels together.  Light grey clouds zooming under a dark grey canopy at silly speeds.  We didn't realise at the time but this was the storm which was just about due to hit Vliho bay just down the coast from us.

Here is a link to some video footage taken of the storm if you have not already seen it:-

It seems things are not quite as bad as originally reported and that there was only one fatality, a French Yachtsman, our thoughts and hopes are currently for his wife and family.  There are some much better pictures of the devastation wrought by the storm on the Ionian magazines web site at:-

Anyway needless to say the the weather has now settled into a lovely spell of 25 degree days and 20 degree nights so we are all sleeping much better now.  We have not eaten out much since we returned home as Tavernas are still full of tourists and you don't really feel like eating much when it's really hot but now that the weather has changed we are going out tonight with Debbie & Jeremy for a bite and catch up on all the latest gossip to hit the island (no doubt the great storm of September 2011 will be it!).

Friday, 16 September 2011

What a difference a week makes...

No.1 Son, Gary & his wife Claire (R&L).
Well it's been a couple of weeks since my last blog so this is a bumper edition starting from (not so) sunny Yokefleet and ending up to date here in Lefkas.

The strange looking people in the picture to the right are all going to a fancy dress 21st party, or so they claim.  On the right is our son Gary as Dr. Frank-N-Furter from "the Rocky Horror Picture Show" although he spends most weekends like this! On the left is his wife Claire with various other friends out of the village.  The next day I managed to crack my rib by falling over the tractor lawnmower and very nearly impaling myself on one of the levers.  Sandra wanted me to go to the hospital and get it checked out but I realised that hospitals have an habit of sending you home only to come back the next day and see a specialist.  This would have meant that we missed our ferry as we were due to leave the next day, and the knock on effect would have buggered up the hotel and ferry bookings in Europe.  Being the tight Yorkshire man I am, I decided I would put up with the pain and get going rather than loose loads of money.  Ain't I an hero!!  Anyway they don't normally do anything with ribs unless you puncture a lung or something so I reckoned on being fine after a bit of R&R.

First day at senior school for Lib's & Jo.
The day after we left to come back to Greece our twin Grandchildren, Jo & Libby started their first day at secondary school so this photo is all we have of the occasion.  We had been led to believe that they would be starting school a day earlier in which case we could have seen them off on their new adventure.  Good luck you two xx.
Jungle and crew set off for the Southern Ionian Rally
After regatta party on "Fraca III", Tree & Mike's Boat.
We had our now normal trip back to Greece which has been mentioned in detail in previous blogs so I won't go over it again.  If anyone wants the routes and costings them feel free to email me.  The total round trip (Vournikas - Yokefleet - Vournikas) cost without eating out ie. ferry's, tolls, diesel and hotels worked out at £1,140, with a total driving mileage of 1,950, this would be considerably more if we went from the south coast rather than catching the Hull - Zeebrugge ferry.
Liz's Daughter and son in law Sarah & James.

 As we left the northern European winds behind us it became apparent that southern Europe was having somewhat of a heatwave.  For the first time ever we travelled through Switzerland without continuous rain (or snow) and as Italy came up the temperatures started to climb.  Venice was basking in about 28 degrees and by the time we got to Greece on Thursday it was very

warm indeed and has been ever since with daytime temps in the mid to high 30's and night time in the mid 20's, and a tad sticky at times although not too uncomfortable.

I took Tony to Sivota on Monday morning for the start of the three day Southern Ionian Rally around the islands between Kastos and Lefkas which  is the precursor of the Southern Ionian Regatta held on Thursday.  I couldn't have sailed even if someone had begged me to with my ribs being in a bit of a state but none the less managed to see them off safely.

We went to see our old Greek friends in Assos on Tuesday and found out that Jorgos has had to close his filling station as a result of the "economy catastrophe", he was contracted to the EKO (ESSO) fuel company and they are stopping supplying a large proportion of their less profitable outlets so poor old George has had his income taken from him, he will however carry on with the cafe for now.  Despite this they are all well although obviously worried for the future.

A few drinks before the party.
Since we have returned the VAT has risen on food and drink items from (I think) 11% to 23% the standard VAT rate, this is having an impact on every one who lives here as food and drink are necessities and for taverna owner in particular at least a couple of whom are trying to absorb the increase themselves.

And the band played on!!!

Thursday, and the regatta sets off in the channel between Lefkas and Meganissi, this year there were around 120 yachts involved and a great days sailing with force 5 winds was had by all.  The regatta party was held in Sivota so Sandra and I attended and had a great night with wonderful friends.

P.S. Ribs are now feeling much better but I won't be over doing it for a while yet!

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Last Post for a couple of weeks

Barn roof nearly dismantled
 Well our time here in good ol' Yorkshire is nearly at an end.  We are busy getting stuff wrapped up and ready to pack into the car ready for the "homeward" journey.

I have had to find a little time this week though to help my neighbours in the farm next door to our house.  As the weather hasn't been great this August, apparently the coolest and wettest for eighteen years, they have had to take advantage of any dry spells to get their harvest in so I volunteered to help with keeping the homestead something like.  As such I cut all the lawns around the farm and then disconnected all the power cables going through a barn which was to be dismantled.
Portable scaffolding?
Having removed all the cables I then assisted Rob the farmers son to demolish the old barn whose roof had collapsed under the weight of snow earlier in the year.  His dad, being a good Yorkshire man and frugal to boot, wanted to save everything in case it came in handy at a later date so all the corrugated zinc sheets had to be removed one at a time and then all the purling's and rafters removed without damage.  As we had no scaffolding we used a trailer laden with straw as a working platform.  Best fun I've had for some time, it's great being able to give things a huge clout with a big hammer!
Jessica & Melissa with dogs Dino & Dax looking on.
Today I have been doing my grand parently duties.  Sandra has been out shopping getting all the fresh stuff to take back to Greece with us and my daughter in law had to go to work.  This left me in sole charge of Jessica & Melissa in addition to the two boxers Dax & Dino for the day.  Just goes to prove that even though I'm a senior citizen I can still thrash a couple of kids into shape, we had a great time chasing around the garden and I even managed to get their dinner.  I must be getting domesticated in my old age!

Sandra arrived home at tea time worn out and spent up, another month in overdraft me thinks...

Anyway that's about all for this week, there won't be a blog next Thursday as we shall be on the road but hopefully the week after we'll have something to say.