Thursday, 29 March 2012

Out of the water...

Izola finally out for her repairs.
It's been another industrious week at the Tree House this week, we have now got all all the garden looking at it's best and moved a few plants around to fill in some of the more open spaces.  I've also had the strimmer running flat out clearing the road side near the drive to stop all the weed seedlings escaping and causing problems later.

We have arranged to spend Easter weekend in Corfu and combining that with a visit to the boat brokers at Gouvia marina.  There is a boat there which takes our fancy so watch this space you never know we may too be afloat on our own boat soon!
Wonder who left the outboard in the water!

This morning we have finally got Izola out of the water so that the repairs to her can be started.  If you remember she was damaged during the "tornado" which whipped through Vlicho bay laid another boat over her crunching the staunchions into the top of her roof.  Unfortunately she has been waiting now for weeks to get out.  

Tony inspecting her after her wash down.
When we went to move her she seemed to be going very slowly full throttle and hardly moving, Tony suggested that it was because of the weed build up on the prop as the outboard had been left in the water.  I didn't expect it to be quite as bad as that though.  Pressure washing shifted it all fine in the end.

Friday, 23 March 2012

A little late maybe...

Been a very busy week this week from yours truly, had the usual Guitar practice on Friday with Pete Winnett, and it's nice to see that the usual attendees are improving, some more rapidly than others but I don't think a top twenty hit is going to be in the pipeline just yet but you never know "Britain's got Talent" starts again this Saturday so they may be casting their nets further afield by now!

Sandra pensive in the evening sun.
Saturday and Sunday morning were taken up entirely by sawing up all our acquired pile of logs in readiness for when they are required although I don't think that that will be for some time as the weather seems to have taken a real turn for the better with temperatures this week being well in the twenties every day.

Sunday afternoon we had Tony, Jez and Debs up to the house for a full roast pork dinner and an afternoon of stimulating conversation.  Great to have people around who you can talk so free and easily with.  Jez and Debs have now gone back to the UK to pick up their new caravan and we won't see them again until May so good luck with the towing guys and missing you already!

Spent all day Monday washing and polishing the car as it was in a bit of a mess after the resent poor weather and needed it's layer of sunscreen (Polish) before the sun destroys the paintwork.  Then on Tuesday it was busy in the garden getting all the winters detritus out from between the stones, if you don't do this it turns to compost and all the weed seedlings germinate and you have ten times the problems later so it's a stitch in time job but back destroying.   On the subject of glass backs the last few days hard physical work have buggered mine up again.  I'm really pleased to be taking it easy for a few days and let it recuperate somewhat.

We took Tree and Mike out yesterday for a drive around the mainland to show them some of the areas they have never visited, I think that they enjoyed it very much.  Thank you to them for buying a lovely evening meal in Preveza last night.

We are currently looking at perhaps being water people at some point in the future so to this end we are currently looking at affordable yachts with which we can move onto the next phase of our Greek Odyssey.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

The days are getting longer...

 As the weather improves and March is now marching on it has become apparent how much the evenings are getting lighter.  There is still good daylight at seven o'clock and given that the clocks alter in a little over a weeks time it will be light until past eight in the evening.  The weather is also beginning to get warmer although we are still needing some heating in the house in the evening it is very clear that a small fire is now sufficient to keep things warm.  I dare say that Sandra will soon be casting off the Winceyette nightie for something a little more in keeping with a sub tropical climate!

All the staining finished
We have managed to get all the outside woodwork finished now and it all looks very much the better for it.  The downside of this was that there were several little bits of the stain which got onto the tiles and stone work.  This meant that Sandra and I spent about four hours yesterday with scrubbing brushes and scotchbrite pads scrubbing it all to within an inch of it's life.  Needless to say that all evidence of the offending substance has now been removed although I'm not sure you are supposed to see your face in the floor tiles.
New pile of firewood.
I did mention last week that we were running low on fuel, well that has now been fully remedied.  On Wednesday we had a delivery of oil for the central heating three hundred litres at a cost of €311, much dearer than the UK but we can't get it here from there for less than the difference so it's no good moaning about it.  Also we had a very kind offer of some fire wood from our good friends Ray & Linda which we have been to collect today, it'll soon be converted to fire sized pieces ready for the next cold spell.  Thanks to Ray and Linda for the fuel at good Yorkshire prices and also for the delicious lunch.  We've had a great afternoon chatting to like minded people.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Oh no it isn't....

Newly sanded woodwork.
 The first thing we noticed on returning home from Cyprus was that all our outside woodwork, which was a bit shabby, had been rubbed down ready for painting with wood preservative.  It had been done previously with varnish but this was peeling and allowing the wood underneath to turn black with the moisture.

Orange tree - a shadow of it's former self!
Tree and Mike, our landlords, had employed Spiros in the village to sand back to good wood all over while we were absent so the muck and dust didn't trample into the house, very thoughtful of them.  Mike has provided the new stain so on Sunday I started to paint it all, unfortunately the weather has not been good enough since so the staircase remains in it's nude state at the moment but as soon as it improves we will get that finished.

We have also given the Orange tree it's spring prune, quite a severe haircut really but it needed it.  It was blocking out all the sunlight from Liz's apartment below us but now she'll need some sunscreens to make up for it.  The downside will be that we will not get many oranges this year but we have salvaged what was left on the tree and made some more marmalade, orange curd and juiced the rest.
Audience at Cinderella. 

Anton AKA Tree.
 Saturday night was the last night of the NIVADS (Nidri Very Amateur Dramatics Society) annual pantomime presentation.  It was excellent and hugely acclaimed by all.  The story of Cinderella with a very localised twist to it.  Held at Vliho Yacht Club as usual the evening started with an excellent meal from the Yacht clubs new chef followed by two hours

of really first rate entertainment, oh no it wasn't....
"Tom" the Purrrfect cat.

Cinders and the mice, brilliant. 
All of the cast and crew deserved the rapturous applause when the curtain fell but I think a special mention must go to Cinders (Ciara) for her lovely singing voice and the mice (Hannah, Thailia, Cassandra & Sarah) because we have never seen cuter or more talkative ones.   Well done everyone we look forward to next years event.

Hopefully the weather is going to improve soon as we will soon have to buy some more heating oil and I was hoping that this could wait until next month but that may now be the case we are also beginning to run short of fire wood so we may need another load of that before many more cold days are up but what the hell it's only money and we are not going to be cold for the sake of a little fuel.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

and home to Lefkada...

Tombs of the Kings

Tombs of the Kings
 Well we are now back in Lefkas after our three and a half week jaunt to Cyprus.  In our last week we visited yet more of the historical sights which are in abundance all over the Island.  In Paphos town there is an attraction called "Tomb's of the Kings" which are still being excavated and are well worth a visit.  There are no "real" kings here but the tombs are of wealthy merchants and the like.  The place is supposedly a reconstruction of the individuals home so that when they were interred they felt at home.  There must be a dozen or so tombs but I suspect there are many more just waiting to be uncovered. 
Roman Villa mosaics.

Roman Villa mosaics.

Almost on the harbour in Paphos there is another visitor attraction which features several Roman villa's complete with hypercausts (underfloor heating) and the most magnificent mosaics I have ever seen.  Also as part of this museum there is a Templer castle which was built in 1200 and fell apart in an earthquake

in 1225 never to be reused, a lot of work for just twenty five years of use.  The whole area is soaked in historical monuments of one shape of another and is probably the biggest reason for visiting the island.  Some of the sights are having lots of money spent on them but others are very much in their raw state and

as with the Mediterranean in general the facts are not always presented to you so it's probably worth getting some background information prior to visiting although there are exceptions to this as in the case of the villa's mentioned earlier which has a good visitor centre with an audio visual  presentation and some good information boards.

Biggest pile of Spare ribs I've every seen!
 Our verdict on Cyprus then, well, From an history and culture point of view it could keep you occupied for quite a long time but I wouldn't recommend going for the scenery as there are many, many prettier islands.  Many of the beaches are excellent especially in the north, if beaches are your thing but it is

all very concrete in the tourist area's and much of it seems in need of a little TLC.  You may not hear a Greek (or Turkish if in the North) voice for several days after arriving as there is a really huge ex-pat population there.  In general it's a little cheaper than Greece especially fuel prices and you can get everything there that you would find in a UK high street.  In the supermarkets things are labelled in English as well as Greek so no problems understanding what an item is.  From our perspective then, it's worth a visit but not a place we would live but it's very nice having good friends there so we can return at some point.
Jean & Al tucking in!

On our last night before returning home we went up into the mountains to have a meal at a place which sort of specialised in spare ribs.  We all duly ordered them and I've never seen the likes before, two full racks of ribs on each plate, the plate pictured is a very large plate believe me!  A good half of mine and Sandra's went home in a doggy bag!

The trip back home couldn't have gone smoother, Allen & Jean took us to Larnaca which is about two hours from Pathos, the flights was on time and no delays at immigration.  Straight out and onto the bus into Athens to get the coach back to Lefkas.  We thought there would be a wait at the coach terminal but within minutes we got told there was one within half an hour so we arrived home two hours earlier than anticipated.  Thanks Allen & Jean for putting up with us over the last few weeks, I hope we weren't to much of a burden :-)