Friday, 31 August 2012

Sorry, Late again!!

Frost on top of the cars in August!
 Sorry to be late again with the blog but it's been one of those weeks.  The weather has been shite again until today and there just seems to be more things to do than time to do them.

Geoff's veg garden ready for raiding. 
Sandra took her dad to York yesterday to catch his train for Dundee to have his annual pilgrimage to visit

his old army mate and then she went onto visit with one of her old work colleagues for the day.  I on the other hand was left home alone in charge of our two youngest Grand Daughters, Melissa and Jessica.  
Sandra with the fifth load of washing.

Can I go home now?
 I enjoy looking after the kids as they are no bother and John

(No. three son) has fast broadband at his house so anything which needs downloading waits until I am there.

This morning we had a frost, you can't make it out too well on the photo but all the cars were covered in a white coating,

August and the harvest not yet in and we are having frosts already, what is happening to the weather?
Conservatory spick and span!

I Geoff's absence we have been taking advantage of the situation of his house being empty for Sandra and I to give it's bi-annual deep clean.

Geoff is a very clean person but at 88 years old he doesn't see the stuff which Sandra see's.  Seven loads of washing and a great deal of hoovering and wiping later it looks good enough for the queen although I'm sure Geoff won't notice anything different.

Oh well only just over a week to go now before we set off back to Greece.  Next week will be really busy as we have a christening this weekend, Mark & Mo to visit on Monday, caravan to move out of the Paddock and clean up all the grassed area where we have been and then wash the caravan and pack the car in readiness for the trip home.  I hope the weather gods are good to us over the next week!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Gone to Stud!! - Well nearly...

Out on high fell Gallops
 The highlight of this week has to be our trip with Geoffrey up to Spigot Lodge, the stables and training yard of Karl and Elaine Burke.  This had been kindly arranged for Geoff by Alison and Peter at the Katoghi restaurant
( to help him celebrate his birthday.  Thanks you two, a more appropriate gift couldn't have been conceived.

The Stables are near Leyburn in North Yorkshire not far from Catterick, and the whole area is full of stables, training yards and general horsey stuff which suited Geoff down to the ground.

One section of the stables
We started our day up at the gallops on top of the moor, watching some of the horses running over various distances up to a mile and a quarter, being a none race goer myself I hadn't realised the speeds at which these animals move, quite something actually.

We then moved back down to the stables and had a tour of everything there with Karls' assistant Sean and the yard manager Julian.  I'm afraid they loaded us down with facts and figures that most of it went straight over my head but it all seemed so interesting at the time.  I did learn however, that the cheapest way to get into horse racing as an owner is to buy a share.  The cheapest they had on offer was a 2.5% share of a two year old colt which cost £2,500 plus £60 a month for stable and training fees. 

Wayne Rooney and John O'Shay's Horse
 We spoke to loads of staff in the yards mainly jockeys (poor wee things).  One was proud that he had got to 8.5 Stones and could therefore ride a certain bit of horse flesh.  I replied "Does that mean I can ride two of them then!"
Warming Down after the Gallops

At last Geoff found a Grey.

The stables were at 4 race meetings that day and so Sean had to dash off to get a horse to Doncaster in time and we continued our tour with Karls wife Elaine who seemed more interested in what Geoff had to tell her about horses in the war and Major Empson's hunters and polo ponies, I do hope he didn't

bore her too much.

The stables are about to be extended soon for having accommodation for seventy horses to about double that.  It seems that even in a recession the sport of kings is still thriving.

Nothing like a nice munch of grass after a run!

On the way home we took the scenic route via Thirsk  and up Sutton Bank hill and round by the White Horse of Kilburn and to see the workshops of the Mouse Man  (Robert Thompson) who make the hard carved furniture, always with a mouse carved into them somewhere.  And then onwards and homewards.  A great day out for the old guy and something I'm sure he'll remember for the rest of his life. 

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Phew... This looking after Grandkids is hard...

I ain't sure who is the biggest kid!!
 Had another day out this week with another two of the grandchildren and then a couple of babysitting days for others, we are about shattered.  You don't realise how much you get used to a sedentary lifestyle and when you don't have it, it come hard.

We took Mason and Finley for a day out into the North Yorkshire moors where they could run around and play to their hearts desires without being a pest to anyone else.  The play ground in Dalby forest are great for kids to run off some of that excess energy and it makes grandad sleep well  too!
Now how about a pirouette ?

 After that and a picnic we took them to Scarborough where they insisted on having a swim (well playing in the shallows) we did not have their swimming gear with us but in true British fashion they stripped down to their pants and went larking in the water.  An hour later cold, wet and scoured with the sand, Sandra had to go and buy a towel (at seaside prices) to wash them down and get em dry before pneumonia set in.

Getting Mason trained in climbing the rigging.

Green energy for the Yacht (and Tony's)
A ride down the coast to Bridlington for a fish and chip supper ended and brilliant day. Next week it's all to do again with Jessica and Melissa but hey that's what grandparents have to do.  Although if the weather is OK we may go to Hornsea Mere and the beach there with them.

In our spare time we are still getting things together to bring back to Greece.  Tony located some solar panels at an excellent price the only problem being carriage to Lefkas was expensive.  So, as we were thinking of getting some panels ourselves for the boat we got them delivered here.  The downside of this is we no longer drive a tank only a little saloon car.  With this in mind we have bought some roof bars and will bring the roof box back with us as the panels will all fit in that with maybe a few other small bits and bobs.  Hopefully we can sell the roof box while we are there rather than have to bring it back to the UK next summer.

We have ordered out new cooker for the Yacht today after a couple of urgent phone calls out to Greece for measurements.  I was going to just install an Oven but with the measurements not adding up have gone for a full cooker with oven and grill - more money gone - I'm never gonna get rich this way!

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Exciting times...

Joseph, Libby & Adam having a picnic with Grandma.
 This week has been a wonderful time to be a Brit.  The fantastic effort put in by all the people involved in the Olympic Games in London has really paid off, it just goes to show that the Lottery isn't totally a waste of money.  And some of us armchair athletes may even become inspired by 50 odd medallists.  We have certainly been watching a good deal of it on the TV and are a little sad that our plans to go down there for a month had to be scuttled but I suppose you have to prioritise.
Jo & Adam get in practice for the next Olympics.

Last Friday we took Three of our Grandchildren to Dalby Forest for a day out.  Sandra had insisted before we set off that all DS's, Mobiles and any other electronic gadgets where left at home.  I'm sure they never thought of them once in the entire day which started at nine o'clock in the morning and finished at seven in the evening.  Proving they could actually live for ten hours without electronic intervention must have opened all sorts of new possibilities for them.
We had a great day and managed to even top it off with a McDonald's in York en-route home.

Spot the kids - Dalby Forest adventure playground.
We have started to get things in place ready for coming home to Lefkas, most of the bits and pieces we wanted to get for the boat have been got, although with the current exchange rate the Greek prices are now becoming more competitive.  Just got the cooker to buy now and one or two small bits but with downsizing the car this is probably a good thing. Anyway one month today (9th September) we shall be on our way back home, arriving back in Lefkas on the 12th September.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

The tank - new Olympic event?

Foreman supervising operations!
 The new oil tank arrived at half past two on Friday afternoon so it was all hands to the pumps (literally) to get it installed before the Olympic opening ceremony.  Thankfully Rob, the farmer who lives next door lent me the use of his Manitou fork lift truck, so after doing all the new oil fittings on the tank it was just a case of lifting it over the fence and then filling it up.  The good thing about this was I got to play with big toys in typical man fashion!

Thanks for the loan of the fork lift Rob!
Filling was simply a case of lifting the temporary tanks above the new ones and letting gravity do it's thing.  The new tank had a capacity of 2500 Litres and unfortunately we had 2700 Litres to get into  it so ended up a couple of hundred litres staying in the tank until some has been used to make room for it.

All done and dusted showered and tea on the go while watching the opening ceremony which was fantastic, well done Team GB.
The €10 outboard all up and running.

Next thing on the agenda was to get around to making my "bargain buy" outboard motor go.  I got it all stripped down in the garage, cleaned everything up and on the third pull it fired.  I then stuck it in a bucket of water before starting it properly to make sure it kept cool.  I must be a tad green I think because I ended up with water all over the place.  Fortunately Sandra was out so I got it all cleaned up before she returned  - phew....  Outside the garage I have a wheely bin which collects rainwater, so I fastened the outboard to the side of that and cranked her up again and it ran like a dream.  Pity that the bottom of the bin was full of detritus which comes out of the gutters, leaves etc, so I couldn't run it for too long in case it blocked all the cooling channels.  All in all I'm very chuffed that my €10 bargain works so well!