Thursday, 18 December 2014

There's life in the old dog yet...

Aussie Paul's Birthday bash.
Before we left lefkas we had the very important occasion of celebrating Paul birthday on his boat, we had a great afternoon and evening with loads of laughs, very load ones in Paul's case.  It was just Paul, Jules, Fergus, Nev, Anne, Tommy, Sandra and myself but I'm sure we made enough noise for fifty people.  Thanks to Jules for putting on a super spread and everyone for a great afternoon.
Our potential mooring in Olympic marina, Lavrion.

 On Tuesday morning we set off for Athens to stay at Peris hotel just outside Rafina and within a few minutes of the airport.  We had arranged to stay for three nights prior to flying back to the UK in order to suss out potential overwintering ports for 2015/2016.  The hotel has been great in looking after our car for our six weeks absence absolutely free of charge.  If anyone needs to use them they have a web site which is very basic but gives you contact details,  the cost is €80 per room per night including breakfast.
Rafina ready for Christmas

 On Wednesday morning we set off on our mission to find somewhere for the following winter looking at moorings and marinas from Athens, which we we wouldn't touch with a bargepole, up to Evia which is gorgeous via Rafina, Porta Rafti and Lavrion.  The Athenian places were just not secure enough there was no life on the marina's and the area's involved are slightly less than salubrious, maybe fine if you are always there but we leave the boat for long periods so not for us.  We did like both Chalkis and the Olympic marina at Lavrion, these both had the same problem.

Ice rink in Chalkis Evia.
There is no one living on the marina's throughout the winter period, in November everyone has gone away not to return until Easter.

The lovely town of Chalkis.
I don't think the current Mrs. W. would remain current for long if she had to put up with me for four months without any chance of some type of social life within a sensible distance.  In a way we would be in the same situation as we used to be when living up in the mountains at Assos where we had to travel for anything vaguely resembling entertainment.  I had not realised that for winter living Lefkada would take so much beating.

The school choir, featuring Mason and Jessica (nearest).
 I think that going forward we will probably stay in the Ionian and travel with the car to places we wish to see perhaps having a few days away at a time.  Just thinking to myself, a happy missus is a quite life!
Sandra's Family get together.

And Mikes birthday too!

My poor old mower deck, no bearings left.
 On Friday we set off back for home and all was going very smoothly until we were approaching Paris when the pilot announced that there were problem with the NATS system in southern UK and no one could enter UK airspace.  He would slow down and fly about a bit using his contingency fuel which he did but half an hour later he came on again saying that we would have to land at Amsterdam's Schiphol  airport to refuel and await a resolution for the problem.  So we had about an hour on the ground before continuing our journey.  Seven hours sat on the plane in total.  Our train time had well gone before we got to Manchester but to be fair with Trans Pennine trains they honoured our expired tickets good on em!

Sunday we got to see two of our Grandchildren Jessica and Mason singing in the school choir at the local garden centre, of course they were brilliant you would expect me to say anything else.

In the evening we went to the local hostelry, to have what is now an annual family get together with over twenty but not all of Sandra's family, this year it was organised by Sandra's cousin Kath who made a super job of it and we all had a great night especially Mike, Kath's nephew, who was a day short of his birthday and was duly embarrassed.

On Monday I finally managed to get the deck off my lawnmower and order the correct parts for mending it.  They have to come from the USA and the postage and import duties are actually almost as much as the parts themselves, nevermind they are still much cheaper than getting a new lawn tractor.

Merry Christmas everyone.  Les, Sanny and Geoff.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

On the up...

The pizza chef in Sapore di Piperi.
 Firstly my glass back (as my son insists on calling it), is much improved.  It was slowly getting better until yesterday when Deb and Jez heard of a wonder drug which can be bought straight over the counter as most drugs can be here in Greece.  The tablets, Naprosyn, are used in the treatment of arthritis and I could tell the difference within two hours of taking the first pill.  I have taken another this morning and had the most comfortable day for about a month now.  Thanks guys for the information.
Wicked calzone di mare and mixed salad.

Hundreds of acres or Oranges ripe for the picking.

Market day in Arta.
 On Sunday we went to the newly revamped Sapore di Piperi restaurant in Nidri.  They have made a great job of the place and are open Friday, Saturday and Sunday every week throughout the winter.  The old Il Sapore now Pomerada is also reopening this week on weekend days.  Looks like there is a plethora of Italian food in Nidri.  We had a great meal on Sunday and it was fantastic to see Demetri in good form.
Arta music academy doing a charity concert

Something fishy.
We have had some pretty poor weather this last few days, not UK poor but never the less poor with some serious wind and rain.  Things brightened up again yesterday and we're back into the low twenties so every thing has dried up nicely.

Yesterday we drove around the Amvraticus gulf yesterday and had a couple of hours wondering around Arta.  The road between Amfilochia and Arta has hundreds of acres of citrus groves all of which are now being harvested.  As a result of this there are stalls selling oranges, lemons, mandarins etc. twenty five cents a kilo (about twenty pence), the man from delmonti he say YES!!

Arta is a fantastic town to visit and it's amazing that so many people who spend an awful lot of time out in this part of Greece never get to see it.  We were treated to a musical performance by the local music academy in aid of charity, so it seems that even cash strapped Greece can still do a bit for good causes.

There will not be a blog next week as we are leaving Lefkas for Athens on Tuesday and after three days in Athens we fly back to the UK, hopefully I will have the time to update things the week after.