Thursday, 29 May 2014

Eleven days to go...

Cafe culture in Arta
 Not long now before we go back to the UK for our summer "break", I say that in quotes because I suspect that it'll be far more hectic then it has been here and we'll probably have to dodge the weather as well.  Hopefully our tenants will soon be sorted out with their new house and we can get on with redecorating ready for the new people moving in.

On Sunday we took David to the airport at Preveza for his flying visit to the UK.  He kindly let us use his car while he was away and we decided to have a few days out and about while we had the chance.  Thanks David.
The main pedestrian street in Arta.

Sandra in a world of her own in Amfilochio.
So on Monday we went for a trip around the Amvraticus gulf on what for us was a nostalgia trip.  Firstly to Arta, where we stopped for our usual coffee but only to find that our usual haunt was under new management and name.  So we decided to try a different place a little further down the street only to find it had been taken over by the people who had owned the first cafe where we used to go to.  We must have been drawn by their magnetism!  Then whilst walking down the main pedestrianised street, Sandra looking at shoe shops and me as usual looking anywhere which wouldn't cost me money, she disappeared.  Another new pair of shoes later she reappeared but, to quote Sandra, "they were a bargain".  Arta is a proper Greek city and a must visit for people out here who want to see life away from tourism, and also prices are far cheaper in the shops.
Sandra and Liz at Janet's 70th party.

The Lady herself with hubby Mike.
 Further around the gulf we called in for some late lunch at Amfilochio.  It was horrible, neither of us liked it, she had a salad and I had an omelette, how far wrong could you go with that!  Never mind it is a charming town and very few foreigners get out of their cars there so again it's worth a visit.  A trip home from there around the lakes completed the day.
Looks buggered don't it!

Tuesday was a trip to Panagia for Janet's seventieth birthday party, Tony and Liz went in Timoni, but with a forecast of windy conditions there were only two sailors brave enough to venture out there.  I have been too busy doing bits to Lesanda that as yet I have not got the sails back on her and of course we had the car so we went in that (my excuse and I'm sticking to it!).  Great do Janet and Mike hope you had a great birthday.

Tuesday evening we went to Nidri for a last drink at Pano's before we leave and for something to eat at what was Il Sepora great night.  When we got home we had a flood.  Oh no I thought as if I have not had enough of bloody floods.  So before we went to bed we had to bail and pump all the water out of the heads (toilet).  It was warm fresh water so we knew it wasn't going to sink over night after we had turned off the water heater and pump.  On investigation the next day it looked like the water was actually coming out of the immersion heater element, bugger!  A couple of months ago we had had problems with the calorifier (hot water tank), and we fixed it without having to remove the unit out.  I should have done.  I have it out now and the element is shot at, the water under pressure was getting inside the element and squirting through the connections.  Of course none of the chandlers in Lefkas have that model immersion element so I've joined the pipes up without the calorifier in line and I'll get a new one back in the UK.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Ramping up time...

Lou and Pete go through the swing bridge.
 I think Summer has finally got here to Lefkada, after some very iffy weather over the last few weeks we are now up to a more usual high twenties and the afternoon wind is also getting warmer, long may it last!
Sanny & I just inspecting the dredging work.

Mountains of dumped dredgings
 Sandra and I went for a bike ride around the lagoon the other day to inspect the work going on in the channel which has been dredged over the last couple of months.  Mountains of shale, sand and pebbles have been piled up just behind the old olive factory and much more down towards Milos beach where they seem to be bringing the level of the land up several feet where much of the kite surfing takes place.  The wild life and flora must have found it a bit of a shock to find twenty feet of hardcore over their heads.  Although it does look like there have been several spaces deliberately left for the plants and animals to coral prior to taking over this new alien environment.  Or is that just me being optimistic.

Anyway the road is now fully open around the lagoon so people can get back on their bikes and enjoy the ride.

We stopped off at Milos beach for an expensive coffee but we deserved it for all the exercise, note to self: must eat more to make up for it!

But the wild flowers still seem to survive.
We have been doing lots of jobs around the boat as we only have just over a couple of weeks left before we go back to the UK for three months.  We have been doing drawings for the new upholstery, mattress and curtains (we have no curtain rails on the boat) and they need to be a precise fit otherwise they'll look crap.  We have found several suppliers for the seats and mattresses in the UK but getting them to vacuum wrap the things to make them easily transportable is another problem.  We are also awaiting quotes for the work to be done here in Lefkada as this may be the better solution and we can kick ass if things ain't done right.

Refreshment needed.
 Last year we had our markers on the chain done with cable ties, this proved to be very difficult to make out so I've painted fluorescent red and green bands on the chain every ten meters to indicate the amount of chain out.  The only problem being that with all the chain out on the pontoon, I painted the wrong end first i.e. my ten meter mark shows when I have fifty meters deployed.  Never mind at least I now know how much is left in the chain locker!!!

Glorious techni-coloured anchor chain.
As a side affect of the bright colours we wondered if we could use them as fishing lures whilst out at anchor?  What do you think??

Having painted the chain I decided that the chain locker itself was looking somewhat shabby so decided to make it somewhat more bright and beautiful inside, mind you, you need to be a bit of a contortionist to get into some bits of it with a paint brush.

"Kapsali" moored off Palairos.
We decided that after a days strenuous work we would go across to Palairos last night to rendezvous with Deb and Jez and have an Indian meal just for a change.  We drove across, having no anchor fitted with which to moor, and took the scenic root through the deserted village.  It's quite a while since we went over that way but the journey is so beautiful it's well worth going very slowly over the less than ideal road surface.  As we approached Palairos we spotted "Kapsali" moored in the bay and took a sneaky picture.  A wonderful night out with D&J and also with "little Stevie" good laugh, good food, good company.
Liz christening the new washer - Long may she wash!

 Lastly for this week I got to add this picture of Liz, with her brand new washing machine being trialled.  I never thought the day would come as she seemed to be having a love affair with someone down at the launderette,  only joking Liz I know you only have eyes for one man.  Anyway it must have been mission accomplished as there are lines of washing blowing away merrily all over Timoni.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

A little late...

Sandra & David at lake Zhero.
Firstly I must apologise for not sending out a blog last week.  Yet again we had severe internet problems, this time with the company with whom I'm now having to pay for it.  This, as will not surprise people, goes against the grain a little with me as I really do like to get what I pay for.

The company are called super speed although I think they may now be super sloth.  I first couldn't find a contact number for them as the link on their site insisted on just passing me to paypal, if they can't get the links on the web site right what hope is there.
Just one of many splendid views.

Fag and Photo time.
 After two days of nattering we got them to send out engineers to find out what the problem was and they even sent them to my boat (probably trying to say it was my fault) to see if it was fixed now.  I was wise to this trick though and ended up telling them the MAC address' of the faulty bit of equipment and offering to go and fix it myself.  In the end the guy realised that I knew more about the problem then he did and with the aid of an interpreter over the phone we managed to get to the bottom of it all.  The company has even agreed to re-emburse me for the time when the web was unavailable.  It pays to pester!
One of the wild tortoises we met en-route.

Sunset over Lefkada.
 Last Saturday we took David, a friend from Vafkeri, for a mystery tour on the mainland.  He doesn't like driving much so Sandra drove his car and we had a cracking day out visiting many of the places we used to go to when we lived on the mainland.  David stated that he would like to see a tortoise while he was out because he had never seen one in the wild, of course we obliged by finding not one but two, I think it made his day.  He would have also liked to have spotted some snakes but the only ones we got to see had been Greeked (run over).  Finishing the day with a meal at out favourite fish restaurant at Lygia down the mainland coast.

I think he had a really special day out, I know that we did and we look forward to the next time when we'll take him somewhere else.

We managed to grab a night out with the "Duchess" AKA Debbie's mother Nita the other night.  It's really great to see her all hail and hearty and visiting this beautiful country once again.  Great night folks hopefully see you all again soon.

The ongoing saga of our flood damage insurance claim has moved forward a step since I last wrote the blog.  The ombudsman's office has ruled in our favour and the on the third time of asking the insurance company has agreed to reinstate our flood cover to our policy.  This means that we are now at the same point as we were five months ago.  The loss adjuster has been back in touch asking for estimates and invoices so hopefully we should see some movement soon, don't hold your breath this is insurance we are talking about!
Lesanda back in Summer mode even if the weather isn't!

We had some great weather at the end of last week and the beginning of this so without fear we took down Lesanda's winter cover and re-erected the summer bimini.  Two days later it started blowing like a very windy thing and raining mucky rain and it looks like continuing until after the weekend, blame us, we shouldn't have done it!!

Proud Grany Liz with her latest addition.
We have also paid Ray and Linda a visit up a Sivota and had a lovely lunch and catchup.  It's amazing how time passes when you get talking, we were sheduled to leave by about four O'clock and it was well gone five when I even looked at my watch!  Thanks for the great afternoon you two.

Best news of the week came from Liz back in the UK.  Her daughter has just given birth to a baby boy, Thomas Joseph, 8lb 5oz.  They have waited so long for this and we are delighted that it's finally happened, congratulations to Sarah & James and best not forget the Granny with the smile Liz.  Hope Thomas has a great and long life in front of him.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Glad tidings and Sad tidings...

Flash at the bash.
Mixed bag this week, starting with the inimitable Flash and his Birthday bonanza at Ev Zyn.  We had a couple of drinks in Porto prior to going to the restaurant and then, as usual, a great meal at Alex's place.  Flash was very well behaved all evening and there was no repetition of the last time we went to his birthday party there about six years ago when Maureen and Debbie tried to give him an impromptu hair cut with a pen knife.  Poor old lad, it's not everyday you get to fifty one, although mentally I think you could easily knock the one from the end!
Never a Flash without a flame.
 I think there was about twenty five or so people there and there was also another big party of people at the other side of the restaurant so Alex did well to cope with it all.  I hope Flash's eyebrows have grown back since blowing out (or not) the candles.  Good luck mate and a safe trip back to the UK this weekend.
Happier times, Alison and Pete at the wedding last year.

...and with us going to Metsovo.
Sad news for us that the Katoghi restaurant has closed for business and is up for sale so on Tuesday we hired a car to take Alison to Igoumenitsa to catch the ferry over to Corfu from where she was flying back to the UK.  She seemed sad to be leaving but left us with the impression that she wouldn't be thinking about returning here in the foreseeable future.  Pete had to oversee the transportation of their worldly goods back to the UK via a 7.5 tonne truck.  This didn't happen until Tuesday evening so we had another sad day on Wednesday taking Pete to Preveza to catch Sky Express to Corfu from where he has flown onwards to the UK today.

We will really miss both you guys and hopefully at some point in the future our paths will cross once again.  Good Luck both.