Thursday, 30 October 2014

A different week...

Brian and Victoria, with Kev and Lu officiating.
Lefkas Shanty singers providing impromptu entertainment.
The weekend got off to a cracking start with Brian and Vicky's engagement party at "The Octopuses  Garden" right here in Lefkas town.  What a great venue with a super setting and best of all there were loads of people who we don't normally get much of a chance to speak to there.  The engagement, actually should really have been a wedding but with her hectic and busy lifestyle Vicky had forgot to get divorced.  So they made vows to each other that sooner or later when the paperwork is completed properly they'll do it all again but this time for real.

 The entertainment came from a hastily arranged choral rendition or two from the Lefkas shanty singers, most of whom were attending and included the male lead for the evening Brian.  They actually did very very well especially considering that their conductor and task master Rosa wasn't at the party to keep them in check.

It's this big... Yeah, right.
A very good evening was had by all just a shame that it started to rain and of course I had left open the boat windows so we had to depart at about eleven o'clock.  We stole the pictures from Facebook, they were taken with a decent camera by Gilly on the night so thanks to her, Brian and Vicky for allowing me to reproduce some of them here.

Saloon finished with new cushions and curtains.
 On Monday we picked up the curtains for the boat which we've had made by Takis at Yacht Shelters, the same people who made a super job of our upholstery.  The old tub is now looking less like a charter boat and more like our home, and we can block out the light now!  We still have some more to do in the cabins but of course I didn't bring enough curtail rail out from the UK so that'll have to wait.
And the starboard side too! 

Tuesday was Oxi (ochi or no day) an important bank holiday in Greece celebrating the refusal of Greece to be annexed by Mussolini and thus the start of Greece's involvement in the second world war in 1940.  As one young Greek guy said to us the other night, Greece is the only country in Europe that celebrates the start of the war rather than the end.

We were due to pick up Jez and Debs from Preveza, but their debacle with flying from Corfu continued.  When they should have gone back to the UK they were on the Ryan air flight which wasn't allowed to land at Corfu and caused quite a furore in the UK press stranding about three hundred people in Corfu.  Well they got a refund and travelled a week later and had a great trip finishing by flying back to Corfu.  The plan was then to get the ferry to Igumenitsa and then a bus to Preveza where we would pick them up.  No one had thought of Oxi day though and the resultant mass mobilisation of Greeks on the public transport network, the bus was packed and they couldn't get on it.  A quick phone call got us on the way to Igoumenitsa to pick them up and now they are safe and sound back on the island.

Today Tony and Liz have set off back to the UK to finalise things with their new house and then of course to furnish and decorate it.  It will be the first time they have set up home together from scratch so we would like to wish them all the luck in the world  and hopefully we'll see you again at some point early in the new year.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

It's Official, I'm married to an old woman...

Boat sale at Vlicho Yacht Club.
 Saturday we decided that we would go and browse the bargains to be had at the Vlicho Yacht Club boat Jumble, Car Boot, Jumble sale, call it what you will.  As usual there were things which had been seen and rejected at many a sale prior to this one, I wonder when the items owners will finally realise that there stuff really is old junk and no one actually wants it!  Having said that there was some valid sale items and of of course Poros Janet was there with her normal stall full of freshly baked delicacies such as sausage rolls (Brian bought the bloody lot!), Cornish pasties etc.
The Birthday Girl with Pink Champagne and Chocolate.

We managed to get a couple of Pasties before they sold out for a Sunday snack and also had a bacon sarny in the club house so the journey was worthwhile.

Monday was the birthday of the my long suffering and beautiful wife, Sandra.  At last she has caught up with me in age, at least for the next three months.  I never would have thought all those years ago that I would end up being married to an old woman, but I guess she's ended up being married to an old man too, never mind.

Wine bar before evening meal.
 We decided that as a treat we would have some time in Ioannina and stay overnight in an Hotel and try out an Asian Fusion restaurant we had heard of from Deb and Jez.  The Bonzai, as it's called was fantastic.  We started with a selection of sushi dishes and then a couple of mains ( a Cantonese beef dish and a satay chicken one) with chow mein noodles for the carbohydrates to finish.  They sent us complimentary sweets, banana fritters with Ice cream and all washed down with a little wine.  Bloody gorgeous, we will be going back again.
Quaint little place, init!

Hotel Kastro, Ioannina.
 The hotel we stayed at was the hotel Kastros with the old castle walls and very handy for anyone wishing to see the town and it's many attractions.  The Hotel is good value at fifty eight euros for the room with breakfast although we did get woken during the night with the refuge collectors, we always have our windows open.
Anyone for Yorkshire pudding?

We also managed to do the Ikea, Jumbo, Practika shopping bit whilst we were in the area and I think that Sanny fully enjoyed her little birthday treats.

With spending quite a lot of the time since we returned at Linda and Ray's place we have not really had time to try out the new electric oven we brought back with us from the UK.  Well last night we had a cooked dinner with Yorkshire puddings, I think you'll agree they look stoncking.  I can confirm that they tasted even better.  So overall I think the the oven has now passed the acid Sandra test.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Going, Going, Gone...

Fly catching was extra!
And this from the downhill attackers.
 It's been a busy week with various comings and more especially goings.  Before Geoff and Pauline departed for home we took them to see what the streets of Lefkas look like after dark, which is a little later than their normal meal time but exceptions have to be made.  After a stroll through the town we decided to go for a meal at Margarita's.  Every meal Geoff has absolutely cleared his plate and on most occasions helped out the more slovenly eaters among us but this cured him!

He couldn't finish  his schnitzel it was just a bridge too far.  Kelly, Ray and Linda's faithful pooch had to have extra rations!  To be fair about it none of us actually managed a clean plate as they do tend to over face you a little.

One last visit to Pomordora's to be flattered by Spiros.
On Saturday for their "last Supper" we gave them a free choice of where to eat of all the places they had been whilst on the Island.  They choose Pomerdoras (was Il Sapore, Nidri), unanimously.  This didn't exactly surprise either Sandra or I as Spiros makes  real fuss of everyone who goes there and no exception was made for these two elder statesmen.  And of course the food is pretty good too.

 Despite there being loads of grasshoppers in the UK Aunty had never seen one in the flesh before coming here so we managed to show her one which had tried to drown itself in the swimming pool, we also caught a praying mantis for her to scrutinise, there seems to be millions of them this year.
There are many Mantis' but this one was to show Pauline.

It's been a real honour and a privilege to have been about to show these two senior citizens around the Island for the last two weeks, especially Aunty Pauline who had never had a passport, flown or travelled abroad before, I think it was a great experience for her a shame it's had to wait until so late in life to be enjoyed.

Cheers guys, we hope yoou had a great holiday.
A huge thanks to Ray and Linda for allowing us to use their house in order to get these guys here, we couldn't have done it without you.

 Both are now safely back in the UK no doubt reminiscing about their time in the land of the gods.

Braving the streets of Lefkada.
After dropping them off at Preveza airport we had a short wait for the plane from Gatwick coming in with Linda aboard fresh from her trip to the UK and several days earlier than planned.  It was nice to catch up with all her news and we stayed on at Sivota for a couple more nights before returning to Lesanda.

Ian and David last night having a curry at Palairos.
We were just unpacking the car on Tuesday morning when we were told by the marina manager that the time had at last come for us to move berths to make way for Sun Sail, who are taking over the entire pontoon which we were berthed on.  No hurry they said but we resolved to move the next morning and now we are safely ensconced about five yards from our original mooring on G pontoon.

Last night we went for a curry to Palairos with David and Ian from Vafkeri, they had never been before and David is returning to England this coming weekend so it was going to be the last chance for at least six months for him to try it.  All the way there Ian kept whining about how far it was, about five or six miles as the crow flies but longer by road, half an hour from Lefkas town.   When he got to the restaurant he was moaning that there were only three Chinese dishes on the menu so I asked Dimitri if he would do Ian a fish sweet and sour for his main and he took our advice with the starters.  Wonder of wonders!  he absolutely loved it as did we all, I think the journey was well forgotten by the time he's sampled the food.  Well done Taj Panorama and well done Ian for surviving the shock of leaving the island just to eat.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Only three more sleeps...

Jez and Debs join us for dinner at the plane tree.

 It's been an action packed week for us and our guests who have one hundred and seventy three years between them, I hope I get the value from my pension that they have got from theirs!

Geoff and Pauline do the royal visit to Lesanda.
Thursday night last week, we had dinner out at the Plane Tree taverna in Kontarina.  As always the best of company was had with Deb and Jez and we hope you both have a great time back in the UK even though your intended departure last Sunday didn't happen due to the weather.

On Friday we took the "oldies" down to the marina to show off Lesanda to them.  Like true seafarers the crossed the gang plank onto the boat with no problem whatsoever but I don't think they'll be buying a yacht just yet.
Goats at Agios Ilias.

We had a trip to our old home village of Assos on the mainland on Saturday.  George and Mantha and several of the villagers were there to meet and greet us.  They all remembered Geoff from when we used to live there and were charmed by Aunty Pauline, as most people are.  I forget to take any pictures though as we were trying to reminisce all day.  The day was rounded off by a late afternoon walk down Preveza front and of course something to eat and drink.

Awaiting more food at Pomerdoro (Il Sepora as was).
  Sunday morning although overcast it was dryish.  So we desided to go and have a look at the lentil growing region up at Englouvi but of course half way through the trip the rain started and it really had no idea when to stop.

The mud creeping into Sivota bay.
The rain continued for over two days and at time was torrential with loads of thunder and lighten, really quite spectacular but unfortunately it washed away much of the good work done on Ray's road and overflowed the swimming pool dropping its temperature from 26 to 18 degrees.
And the pool overflowing.
 The soil and debris washed off from the land may Sivota bay look more like the Humber estuary for a while, never have we seen it looking so brown and dowdy.  This didn't stop us finding a way to go out for a meal at the Pomerdoro restaurant (formerly Il Sepora) in Nidri.  As always Spiro made a great fuss of us all especially the old folks we came away feeling much brighter despite the weather.
Sunshine again on a trip up the west coast.

View over Lefkas from the monastery of the prophet Ilias 
 Things began to clear up on Tuesday and by Wednesday the good old currant bun was back blazing in the sky and we showed them the west coast which in my mind is the best part of the Island although the sparsest population probably due to it being weather facing in the winters.  We saw a pod of dolphins probably around twenty or more of them playing down below us but as we were about a hundred feet or so above them the photo's don't pick them out.

Onwards up to the monastery of the Prophet Ilias which is right at the top of one of the highest peaks on the island something like 3304 feet according to Google earth, so over a kilometre high.  This height obviously afford spectacular panoramic views in all directions and with care can be driven too in the car with no walking needed.  I think Aunty was absolutely astounded by the trip and the scenery, something almost all visitors to the island fail to see from their sunbeds and beers.
In the Church admiring the view from 3304 feet.

Dinner at Kato Rahoula, (bottom of hill) restaurant, Nidri.
 Lunch in Englouvi today as we couldn't leave the car because of the rain when we visited the lentils, this time sunshine was the order of the day and eating Al fresco.
Lefkas is once more an island as the bridge opens.

View from the deserted village back to Lefkas town.

Geoff and Auntie P, promenading in Vonitsa. 
Out with Ian and David from Vafkeri on the evening to the place which used to be called the bridge just outside Nidri going up towards Vafkeri.  The name is now Kato Rahoula which roughly translated means bottom of the hill, which it is.

We were delighted with the place clean good menu which is somewhat different and better than most Greek tavernas and also with some more diverse dishes on offer.  It's the first time I have had escargot for donkeys years, and bloody good they were too!  Recommend it to anyone and certainly we'll be going back soon.

Today we've been onto the mainland across to Palairos via the deserted village for coffee's and then onward to Vonitsa for a light lunch before retuning to the island in time for Sandra to cook our evening meal, I'm skint all this eating out!

Good luck to Ray and Linda after your problems with the motor home and we'll see you Linda at Preveza on Sunday with luck and a following wind.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

The Lefkadian home for the young at heart...

Beautiful Melissa "Potter" on her 6th Birthday.
 The massive occasion of our grand daughters sixth birthday was marked here in Lefkas by the arrival of the oldest swingers in town, Sandra's dad Geoff and Aunty Pauline, braving Al-Qauda, the Taliban and IS to prove that octogenarians and Nonagenarians can still travel as independently as anyone else if the will is there to do the job.

Melissa had a great birthday which ended up going over two days because they couldn't fit in the birthday cake with the time available but I think all children should have two day birthdays and all people my age shouldn't bother.  Happy Birthday again "Lissa" love the harry potter bit but you do realise you are turning into your mum don't you?

Why have a lathe and turn yourself.
Before the arrival of the geriatric side show, I had a couple of jobs to for other people.  Firstly for Ian up in Vafkeri who needed a boss turning to fit a circular saw blade.  I just happened to mention that Ray had a lathe and he instantly said "can you use it, I need something doing".  I'm sure Ray won't have minded anyway but it had to be done very gingerly with no cutting oil.
Header Tank all up and running.

I had also promised Ray before we they departed that I would re-instate the header tank and water pump which gives him some latitude in case of water stoppages, his hands are not so good at the moment so it wasn't so easy for him to do.  Well it's all back up and running now Ray, so that's one thing you don't have to worry about.

More eating this time in Spiridoula in Sivota.
Sivota quay side.

Having a yarn with the locals at Vasiliki.

Pauline and Geoff over-looking Porto Katsiki 
The guys arrived on Sunday evening with the plane being two hours delayed and as they walked out of the arrival lounge it was apparent that Geoff was about all in.  Hardly surprising after setting off from home at eight o'clock that morning and not arriving at the airport until nine thirty in the evening and still at least an hours drive in front of them.  On the other hand Pauline looked like she could just about manage at least an half marathon, she was just excited about doing things for the first time in her life.  First time on a plane and first time abroad, she was trying if at all possible to take it all in.
The pleasure boats line up along the beach.

 Sanny style chicken soup, in Ray and Linda's house.
 We thought we would let them get well rested the next day before trying to show them all the fantastic sights which Greece and Lefkas in particular has to offer.  So with this in mind and as we had to go to the chemist (Aunty had forgotten some important pills) we paid a visit to Cafe di Paris in Nidri to watch the day trippers and indulge in some coffee and cakes.

Fully recovered and ready for "clubbing it" we took them up to vafkeri (as the Katoghi is now closed we knew there was no danger of spending money!)  The idea was to drop off the boss I had made for Ian and call in on David for a coffee.  Mission accomplished we carried on to Karia and another coffee and toasty with Brenda, are you beginning to get the theme yet?
 Since then we have been all over the central and southern part of the island and had coffee and meals at many places and seen lots of people who marvel at these two old codgers doing something many people would fight shy of.  As yet they are not being too much a problem apart from getting them to go to bed at a reasonable hour, I do reserve the threat of removing their play station as a last resort.

Tonight it's out with Deb and Jez to the Plane Tree at Mandachory but first I must ake Kelly for her walk.  At least she is kind to me!