Thursday, 24 November 2011

 A little more has happened this week starting with the race from Lefkas to Preveza and back.  The need for crew for Jungle is obviously dire at this time of year as once again I was invited to take part for additional ballast and as someone to release the right rope at the wrong time or alternatively the wrong rope at the right time but never mind!!  The pictures show people waiting just outside of Lefkas bridge prior to the start of the race which was going to be reduced to just running around the "cans" as the forecast was for little wind.  We had already been out into the bay for a practice and the wind wasn't nearly as light as the forecast suggested.

So the decision was made for the race to more or less follow the original course of going down the west coast around a buoy up the Preveza and around another buoy and then a reverse of the above coming back but the cruiser class (the slower boats) just going straight back to the finish.

We got off to a great start hitting the line within milliseconds of the start gun and in a very close third place around the first can.  The first three all took very different routes up to Preveza and it was difficult to say who had made the correct decisions and the wind was dropping by the minute.  Still in third behind Neil in "Leonne" and a big 50ft Beneteau but still nip and tuck.  Again we all had differing plans coming back but it looked like we had made the best plan we looked in front in the very light airs.   Then the wind came and the Beneteau started to catch very quickly and was fifty yards ahead at the buoy.  Neil was trying to pass but we managed to keep him in our wake all the way to the line, which meant "Jungle" was second over the line but easily first on handicap.  Four and three quarter hours of sailing and about five minutes separating the first three boats can't be bad can it!

On Tuesday we took Debs and Jez for a tour of the area where we used to live.  The pictures show them at Zeros Lake and the springs of archaron.  We also called into the kafenion in our old village to introduce them to some of our Greek friends in Assos, I think they were very impressed by the village welcome for it's prodigal sons (and daughters).  It seemed to come as a little surprise to them the depth off feeling they seem to show towards us and of course despite the long hard recession that they are currently enduring they wouldn't accept payment for our drinks as is always the case with these wonderful people.

We finished off the trip with a nice meal in a small taverna in Preveza which Deb and Jez knew of, it was excellent value and also had some variation on the menu which is quite unusual as many Greek tavernas have the same tried and tested fare which they stick to all of the time.   Thanks for making it a memorable day for us you two!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Thursday again already!

Good grief is it that time already!  I haven't taken any pictures at all this week so you'll have to be satisfied with my verbal meanderings.

Last Friday we went to the pontoon party at Lefkas marina and had a great afternoon in the warm sunshine meeting with people who were new to the Island for this winter and also with others who we seem to have known for years.  There was an abundance of food and wine available but Sandra took the flask and we had tea and coffee, although I did have a couple of glasses of red wine prior to coming back to the south of the island.

Unfortunately since Friday the weather has taken on a much colder turn and the nights have been well into single figures at around six degrees and the days have only been in the mid teens so it's felt rather cold here.  In fact the electric blanket has made an appearance although it only needs to be on a low setting.  We have had the fire blazing away for the last week in the late afternoon until bedtime but only had the central heating on for a short time when we first get up.  Yesterday and today it's felt somewhat warmer so hopefully the weather is now going to improve, today the breeze has turned around more to the south west from being stuck in the north west for the last few days so hopefully that bodes well.

Sandra has been poorly since last week also which has stopped us doing much this week, she actually spent almost the whole day in bed on Tuesday although she seems to be much better today, you know what this "woman Flu" is!!!

I would think that by now most people who read this blog will be aware that the price of meat here in Greece is quite expensive, well if you didn't you do now.  We bought a chicken from the butcher in Sivros, the next village to ours, the other day.  It cost eight Euro's which must be at least twice the price of a similar sized bird in the UK.  However with a little of Sandra's creativity we have had four meals from it which ain't really bad value.  We had a traditional roast dinner, sandwiches the next day and then from the carcase Sandra has made enough of a heavenly broth with dumplings to have another two meals each from.  All in all that chicken really didn't die in vain!

Oh well, that's about it for today hopefully there'll be more to talk about next week.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Mid November already!

 Yesterday was overcast for most of the day so we had our first fire of the winter, very nice to snuggle up in front of a glowing log fire and watch Harry Potter on the telly!

We have finished pruning the tree's at Mike and Tree's side of the property well the big mulberry tree in particular.  It grows around fifteen feet every year and if it's not pruned hard back will produce fruit on this years growth next year, this is fine but it makes a real mess of the patio when all the purple splodge falls on it.  It will grow quick enough in spring to provide shade for the punters who rent their house over the summer period.  I've also chopped back the two "triffids" adjacent to our balcony as I was a tad worried that they may take over the world in the coming months, anyway it all looks nice and smart now.  We got about two kilo's of almonds from our almond tree and very nice they are too.
We have ventured out for a couple of walks this week.  The first just around some of the paths and roads within the village, looking at how much effort this year seems to be going into the olive groves.  There was talk of a big deal being signed with the Chinese to export olives and olive oil there but whatever the reason there are olive groves being tidied up this year which I have not even noticed before, could the the "economy crisis"!  There also seems to be a great deal more growing of vegetables on spare land going on, I think the austerity measures are certainly beginning to bite.

Walking through the groves suddenly you come across a stone lion on a gatepost in the middle of nowhere, I assume it's some sort of gate guardian but who really knows?

We also had a walk around our local monastery which is only a couple of miles away and although it's not actively used by monks there are still services held there I assume for christenings and marriages.

As can be seen from the pictures it quite old and in a bit of a state but someone seems to be taking care of the main church part of place.

This afternoon we are going out to the pontoon party at Lefkas Marina.  This is a sort of afternoon social event aimed at the newcomers to the island who are planning to spend their winter here this year.  It will give them an idea of what entertainment is available and what, where and how they can access things.

It's also a chance for the people, new and old, to meet and greet with everyone and swill down all the food with some wine, not that any one really needs an excuse to do that!

Whilst out walking Sandra has been picking bits of autumn foliage to make arrangements for the house and bring a bit of that stunning autumnal colour inside.  The hillsides are now looking very red with the changing leaves although many things here stay in full leaf throughout the winter.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Dining and Digging...

 Now that the clocks have changed it's getting dark here at around 6 o'clock and despite the fact that the days are still glorious the evenings are beginning to get a little cool.  In fact so much so that we have had to switch on the heating for an hour on a couple of evenings which is enough to bring the house up to a reasonable temperature although I'm sure some of our friends here would definitely disagree.  Tony is not happy once it get below thirty degrees.

Sunday evening we went out for a dinner party to Tony & Liz's, with Linda and Kev there also it was a great night, stimulating if sometimes misguided conversations and of course good food and wine, I was treated to Bordeaux rather than my usual supermarket bricks!  Thanks Liz for a fine meal and all of you for a great night out.

We've finally got all the garden into shape as can be seen from the pictures it looks rather nice now even though I do say so myself.  The oranges are getting more orange by the day and hopefully it won't be long before Sandra can start making some more delicious marmalade, we have just ran out of the stuff she made earlier on in the year.  This years crop looks like being a bumper one so there should be enough for Sandra and Liz and also plenty left for juice.
 Today I have been chain sawing again to get the last of this winters wood which I had secreted away ready for when we need to light the fire and also cut down some branches to be stored down the drive side in order to get dried for next year, I would have liked to have chopped down a little more of the holy oak as it's constantly dropping acorns and leaves on the car but I would need a triple extender ladder to do it and Sandra is not keen on me pirouetting at heights with a chainsaw in my hand!  Can't understand why!
Just quick birthday wishes to our daughter in law Claire for this coming week on 11/11/11 that'll never happen again well not for another hundred years and I won't be around to comment or if I am I'll have had great value out of my pension!!