Thursday, 25 September 2014

Slumming it...

Sivota from our terrace.
Last Friday as arranged we moved house for a while, to stay at Sivota.  We are looking after Ray and Linda's villa and dog, Kelly, while they are on a trip back to the UK.  It's a lovely place even if the access to it isn't the best in the world it more than makes up for it with the style, comfort and views.  It's really nice to have almost unrestricted room after living either on the boat whilst here or in the caravan when at home.  Of course there is a downside we have to test the pool for warmth every day!
My playmate for the month, Kelly.
 Kelly has been great, she's a very undemanding pooch and just asks for the occasional walk, talk and feed.  I provide the former, Sandra the latter, team work methinks.  We are growing quite attached to her so her dad and mum may struggle to reclaim her when they return!
Ray and Linda's beautiful home, ours for now.

Sandra finding the up hill pull hard, Kelly not so.

Newly painted bilges - you can't beat white!
 The weather since we have returned to Greece has been super even a little hot at times but I can't remember it ever being this humid before or perhaps it's just that I'm so unfit and not used to the hills any more that I break into a sweat just moving about.  We shouldn't complain really because today, Thursday, a change seems to have moved in and it's raining and has been so for about four hours but at least nothing will need watering this evening and it is the first rain we've had since leaving England.
Sandra's Macmillan coffee morning offering.

Out with Friends, Ian and David for the night.
I have spent a couple of days back at Lefkas taking advantage of the fact that no one is on the boat, to paint the bilges and put up some curtain rails.  We have no curtains in Lesanda and over the summer we bought the material with which to have some made but of course they need something to hang off.  It's not quite so simple as it seems when the wall is only 1/4 inch thick.  Epoxy to the rescue and now I have about half of them done.  It'll be nice to shut out the light when it's done.

We spent last night down in Sivota with friends from Vafkeri, Ian and David (thanks for the photo David) and had a bit of a catchup and I came away with a little work to do.  I don't think Ray will object to me using his lathe to turn down the shoulder of a bush.  It just seems a shame to have something like that at your disposal and not use it.  Thanks for a great night out you guys.

Lastly for this week, because of the rain Sandra thought it would be the ideal time to do a bit of baking so she's knocked up some scones and an apple pie for tomorrows Macmillan charity coffee and cake thing at Porto in the marina.  Don't forget to come anyone who's out here, it's a great cause and they helped my mum!

Thursday, 18 September 2014

It's been a while...

The Port of Hull.
Well it been a couple of weeks since I last wrote anything on the blog, mainly due to the fact that we were travelling all last week.

Before leaving we managed to have an evening with our great friends Allen & Jean and I took a couple of photo's but seem to have left them on the English laptop but hey, they know what they look like I think.

Cheers, Dinner at Kappel-Grafenhausen
We set off from the P&O ferry terminal in King George dock in Hull on the pride of Bruges bound for Zeebrugge in Belgium.  As always it was a pleasure to get up and disembark after a sterling breakfast already on mainland Europe feeling refreshed and ready for the days five hundred mile trip.  Our normal overnighter is Germany just over the border from Strasbourg, a little place called Kappel-Grafenhausen.  Here there is a small family run hotel just half a mile off the motorway which suits us fine.  Dinner on this occasion was just across the street in a schnitzel bar, good food and good value.  Wednesday morning after a super breakfast once again we set off for Venice, Well the terminal for Anek ferry's has now moved just onto the mainland before you cross the causeway to Venice.  Dead easy to get to, in fact they even send the grid reference for the sat nav.

Anek have changed the ship which they use for this route now and there is only limited outside space and no longer a swimming pool on board, but it was clean and serviceable and suited our purposes.  We arrived in Lefkas at eleven thirty in the evening and couldn't sleep due to the heat and humidity so we were still unpacking our kit until we finally collapsed into bed at four AM.
Nice meal at L'Italiano with a strange German guy.

The bikes were covered in Rust - not now!
 Since we have been back we have done most of the jobs I was expecting to do on our return.  New batteries have been installed we now have three hundred and thirty amps at our disposal rather than the two-twenty we had before.  I had passed my old batteries onto Ian up in the mountains but now he can only have one as the one has a catastrophic failure inside.  I thought the side of my bed was feeling hot the first night we arrived home, this is adjacent to where the battery was located,  When I changed them the next day you could have fried eggs on it, We were lucky we came home when we did as it could easily have caused a fire, next time disconnect the solar panels from charging maybe?

We have laid our new "expensive" flooring in the cockpit and taken out the teak duck boards, great improvement we think and of course whilst we were away the new upholstery and mattress we made and fitted.  Takis Paspalidis has done the work and we are delighted, very comfy compared to the old worn out stuff.  There is one minor thing which he got wrong but is going to change that for us whilst we are house sitting next week.
New upholstery - bloody marvellous.
I have even found time this week to get all the rust off our bikes, you can't really tell from the pictures but they were covered in rust.  Such is the price of living besides salt waters I guess.  Anyway they are all cleaned and lubricated now and ready for that new fitness routine, nahhh.

Just before I close a mention of the guy in the picture with us above.  I was walking past the shower block in the marina and this guy in a hand painted van shouts out something in German to me which I did not understand.  I asked him if he spoke English or Greek and he did a little of both so it turned out he thought I was his friend, "You have the face of my friend" he said.  No I assured him this was really my face, I had had it all my life and was pretty sure that no one else had been using it without me knowing. "No it is his face face" he insisted.  Anyway to cut a long story short Sandra and I were out that evening for something to eat after a long hot day and he came and sat with us uninvited and talked to us all evening long, a little weird in all honesty.  We ensured that we got our bill separately though in case he did a runner as he lived in the van and worked as an odd job man all over Europe.  Got to give the guy points for initiative though, he definitely  went looking for work and not the other way around and he paid with no problem.  Cheers Meik.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Let the packing commence...

The man, The new domain.
Oh well it's finally got to that time of the summer again, the last week in the UK for a while.

Are you sitting comfy...
Over the weekend we went darn sarf, to see Pete B. in his new empire.  He's managing a very nice golf club and despite doing a twenty hour day on Saturday he put up with Sandra and I in style all day Sunday.  We went out into the local town for Sunday lunch at a very good Italian restaurant.  I think I may just have upset the owner slightly by telling him that the soup had insufficient seasoning but hey ho.  The food with that exception was excellent and very reasonably priced but of course we were not allowed to pay.

Thanks Pete for a great day out and a tour of the club, I'll bring my bats with me next time.

Who say's he never smiles?

On Monday we went out to see Mark who was home alone Maureen having some training to attend to down in Bristol.  We left her a gift of Apples and Plums from out trees so she won't have an excuse not to bake Mark an apple pie or plum crumble when she gets back, I'm only thinking of your sustenance Mark.

Awning now empty, sitting on concrete.
 After suffering some complications with the installation of Geoff's new shower room, Sandra has finally managed to arrange it all to happen whilst he will be in Greece visiting us, which is a good thing if you have to be without washing and toilet facilities for some time, with luck it will be completed.

Under-carpet washed and drying.
Today we have started to pack up our good and chattels and get them back into their storage facility in the garage.  We now only have a couple of days left in the caravan, it does seem strange walking into the awning and having a concrete floor rather than our nice warm carpet.  On Sunday night we will staying at Geoff's house as this gives us the opportunity to get the caravan all wrapped up in it's winter coat.  I usually give it a wash and polish prior to covering it up and the cover stops both the birds and the ravishes of the winter weather spoiling it before we need it again.  So this afternoon I'll take the awning down and hopefully getting the washing bit out of the way whilst Sandra goes to see Geoff's elder sister who is in hospital unfortunately.  Stop press, I have just found out that I have to go to B&Q for twenty square meters of tiles for the bathroom so the awning may have to wait!
All that stuff back in the garage.

Oh well hopefully we will get to see our good friends Jean and Allen tomorrow night for a total chill session and then all that's left is to catch the ferry on Monday night!