Thursday, 28 November 2013

Busy times...

Moving times at Vasiliki.
We rented a car for a couple of days over the weekend so we have spent quite some time out and about this week.  First on Friday we went to the 'taste of the world' Chinese night at Vlicho yacht club.  A good night out with great friends Tony, Debs and Jez.  Some of the food I found super but there were a couple of the dishes which didn't  do it for me in fact I found them over salty and I like salt, so some people must have struggled with them.  However it was a great night despite the heavy rain.
The cyclamen in Linda's brilliant garden 

A little more colour courtesy of Ray and Linda. 
On Saturday we braved the torrential rain to go and collect our car and set off for an island tour and to see some friends who we will not get another chance to see until next year, not so long away now.  Firstly we went to have a look at Vounikas where we used to live with the weather being so inclement there were not many people about so we just had a ride up the hill to visit the house.  It's not anything like I remember it now somehow it just doesn't seem like the same place.  Onwards from there we paid a visit to Vasiliki where work seems to have commenced on the much talked about south island marina.  I think it will end up being little more than an harbour extension but at least things are moving so there must be some money being made available somewhere.  I don't suppose we shall still be here to witness the completed article but it should provide many more moorings for boats at that end of the island so we hope it's a great success.  On Saturday lunchtime there was only one coffee bar open in Vass, in all the time we have been here we have never seen it so closed hope that it isn't a sign of the times.
"A Rose between..." Sandra Alison and Pete on the old Arta Bridge

Very old Plane tree in Arta.
Onwards then to see Ray and Linda at Sivota but en-route we had a trip through the village to find it was almost entirely shut also not such a great surprise as Sivota does tend to shut down in wintertime.
The ancient bridge at Arta

First snow of the winter on the mountains.
We had a great Lunch at Ray and Linda's and managed to help them out with a couple of technical issues whilst we were there as well.  Thanks you two for a very entertaining afternoon and the great food as well.  I couldn't resist taking a couple of pictures in the garden as even at this time of year it still has plenty of colour and interest in it.

Sunday was an even bigger wash out so we had a ride to Vonitsa and a walk in the rain along the front before going into a bar for a coffee.  In marked contrast Vonitsa is fully open for business and seems to be doing a roaring trade even on a very wet Sunday.

In the evening we went for Sunday Dinner up to the Katoghi and gave a nice guy, Dave, from Washington DC a lift up there to show him the way and share an evening with him.  As always the food and service was first class, the only problem was that we had to wait until Tuesday to see Alison and Pete again!

They kindly offered to take us to Louros (to Jumbo) and Arta on Tuesday.  Pete needed to ensure that the world supply of Christmas decorations didn't all vanish before he got his hands on some more.  Unfortunately it was yet another wet day but we still had a great time and even managed to have a quick look at a few garages for cars in passing.  We finished the day with an early evening meal at 'Rusticos' and Italian restaurant near the old bridge at Arta.  It managed to desist from raining for a while to allow us to walk across the bridge and admire the effort that it must have taken the ancients to make such an edifice.  Thanks guys for thinking about us whilst you were going on your travels and for such a great day out.

Tonight it's Indian night at Palairos with Debbie and Jez, God I do need a spice fix!!

No blog next week as we shall be in Athens awaiting our trip home the next day.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

More of the wet stuff...

Our remade winter cover and sprayhood.

Reading room?
 Last Saturday we had the pleasure of entertaining Pete, from the Katoghi, for lunch while Alison was still in the UK.  Well a Dalton's special gyros actually, we'd just been served our meal when we got a call from Orkide Todd to say that they were en-route to the marina to finally give us back our altered winter cover.  We told her to go ahead and fit it whilst we finished lunch and then we hot footed it back across the town quay to the marina.  At last we have protection from the elements and also a cover that we can access and egress from the sides as well as being able to have the sprayhood up independently from the tent at the back.  All this is just as it should have been last year as we originally specified.  Never mind all is well that ends well.

Music room?
The cover couldn't have arrived a moment too soon as we are having pretty naff weather at the moment lots of rain and some strong winds to boot but this doesn't matter now as we sit out in the cockpit watching the world go by oblivious to the prevailing conditions.  The only thing is we can't decide whether it's a music room, reading room, lounge area, or just a boat with two reception rooms now.  What a dilemma!

Also on Saturday afternoon was the bi-annual boat jumble (treasure for trash, jumble sale etc.) It was well attended and more stalls than is normally the case, I think the decent weather on Saturday helped a great deal but at least some people got some benefit from it.

Despite the rain we are still managing some of our social activities, although Sandra has missed her "stretch & tone" and Zumba class today because of the rain.  I am managing to get a few guitar sessions in whilst she is absent, still not Clapton mind.

Oh well two weeks today and we shall be in Athens awaiting our flight on the Friday so not long now before we get to visit all the reprobates in the UK.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Lest we forget!...

Picture pinched from internet.
 The most important and moving thing that has happened this week was the service of remembrance for all those brave men, women and even children who have forfeited there lives in conflicts over the last hundred years so that we can all live safely.  Without these people, most of whom most of us will never have known or met, we could not be enjoying our freedoms now.  I'm not a religious person but I think we should all keep and honour their memory without which the lessons of history will be forgotten.
And another but the words are magic.
 Our service was held in the Irish bar in Lefkas town and well attended on both Sunday (televised UK broadcast) and Monday with a service conducted by Jacky.  Thanks to all who made it possible.

Before this however on Saturday, Sandra and Liz had a day on the sea with Rauiri and Andy.  They were attending a mini course put on freely by Vlicho yacht club, 'an introduction to yachts'.  They both had an excellent day and came back telling Tony and I what we were doing wrong!  Joking aside it was well worth while and certainly the girls did gain quite a lot of information from it in a very relaxed way, ie no one was shouting 'not that rope the other one' at them.  Thanks to the yacht club for organising the event and for keeping my absent missus happy (I think!).
Sandra, drinking from the well.
 Sunday brought another VYC event, the quiz on wheels.  Tony and Liz provided the means of transport and together we managed to complete the quiz, although perhaps not as well as some other people because we didn't win, however we had a great day out riding around the lesser visited places on the island.  Although we didn't go anywhere we hadn't been before I'm sure it was new ground to the vast majority of the quizzers.
Liz and San winding up the bucket.

Mountain View through the murk!
Since then the weather has taken a definite turn toward winter, we have had quite heavy rain accompanied by some fairly strong and gusty winds and a drop in temperature.  Today is better though but last night for the first time since we came back in August we had to have some heat on the boat, only for about an hour or so though as is rapidly becomes very warm in Lesanda.  We had what we hope will be the final fitting of our cockpit tent with it's new alterations yesterday and hopefully we shall it back with the work completed tomorrow.  First impressions are that it is looking very good and at least now we will be able to separate the spray hood from the tent and gain access via the sides rather than have to squeeze around the back with bowls full of washing!

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Wet and windy...

Deserted Village of (I think) Pratia.

Along the harbour front at Astakos

Just like that.
Pork production Greek Style.
Have you met my brother?
The weather has finally started to look more autumnal.  We had arranged to hire a car for Monday and Tuesday but at the eleventh hour we got a call from Orkide, who is doing some work on our winter cover, to say that she would like to come and do some measuring and take the cover with her back to Vlicho.  So we altered the car to hire back a day to start Tuesday.  After a rainy night, Monday morning arrives and Orkide rings to say that as it's raining she won't be coming so with perhaps a little steam coming out of my ears I convince her that it would be best if she did, bearing in mind that this has been sort of ongoing since about May time.  Anyway her and her assistant Zoltan turn up and at first she isn't talking to me but then she softens up a little and is all smiles by the time she goes away complete with our cover and spray hood.  Then the wind and rain start in earnest and we are confined below watching the telly at full volume just so hear it above the sound of the rain and wind.  Tuesday and we go for a ride to Ioannina calling in en-route to collect gas from a garage on the mainland where it costs €5.50 as again €13.00 here in town, and then to get some trout from the fish farms before doing the IKEA thing in Ioannina.  In the whole day we had approximately 5 mins when it didn't rain and serious rain at that but it didn't matter we were out and about.  As we had almost got back to Lefkas we did actually witness a sighting of the sun, but not for long.

Next day we decided to have a look at some places on the mainland where we had not been for some time so we drove down the coast road to Astakos which we have never been to, and calling in at Mitikas.  We like both places very much especially Astakos which is a very Greek resort/fishing port we will call in there again.

We then went up over the mountains to Katouna and lake Amvratika before following the Amvrati gulf from Amfilochio and back to Lefkas.  A wonderful day out and sunshine with not a drop of rain.