Thursday, 24 September 2015

Slowly, slowly...

Liz and Tony just before leaving Lefkas, for the last time? 
Someone has named their yacht after our youngest grandson.
 Up to the beginning of this week it has been very hot for September, most days in the mid thirty's centigrade about ninety five Fahrenheit.  This has made sleeping quite a challenge and doing a few jobs about the place neigh on impossible especially for us newly arrived back from a lack lustre British summer.  However, Sunday brought a thunder storm which cleared the air a little and also was the pre-cursor to a more reasonable temperature in the mid twenties, very nice even with the odd spot or two of rain.

Sails back on after being removed just before the flood.
 On Sunday we met with Tony and Liz to bid them a fond adieu.  They have returned to the UK as permanent residents having sold Timoni.  Before leaving though Tony (and Tree) organised this years south Ionian regatta.  I didn't get to participate or even see it this year as we had only just arrived back here but by all accounts it was a success and well attended.  Good luck you guys with your new life you'll be missed here.

 On the way back from seeing Tony and Liz I couldn't help but notice the Greek registered yacht pictured above.  Someone has named it after our youngest grandson Finley, it might make him a good starter boat when he gets old enough.

and twenty one months later we sail in the marina.
We have spent the week getting Lesanda ready for sailing.  We removed the sails in December 2013 just before going back home to find our house flooded.  After all the events which have followed it's great to see them back in place.  It was our intention to go and have a sail for a few day starting today but the weather forecast has been very iffy, we may get out at the weekend though.  I am desperate to see if the new weaker me can still do anything but don't want to sudden force eight to deal with.  If all else fails we have the engine which was running for half an hour yesterday as sweet as a nut.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

A touch of Venice...

Geoff and the ladies in his life.
 There were times in the last four of five months when Sandra and I never thought we would get back to Greece and certainly not on the boat. Now here we are back in the marina after a very good trip through Europe by our usual means.  If anyone would like details of the route we use then get in touch or look at some of my older blogs, some of  the September ones will have the details.

Waiting to board P&O in Hull.
The night before leaving Blighty we went out for a meal to the Jolly Sailor pub at Newport with Geoff and his concubine, well sort of, Aunty Pauline and his good friend Sonia so that they could all wish us bon voyage.  We had a lovely evening and I think they were all a little sorry to see the back of us, at least that is what they would have us believe.  I think secretly they are running up the flags and celebrating our departure so they can all get back to partying they way these octogenarian plus folks do.

Our "camping" accomodation at Fusina near Venice.
On the water Taxi into Venice.
 Wednesday afternoon it was into Hull and all aboard the Pride of Brugge for the overnight sail to Zeebrugge.  In the past we have always said that the food on P&O ferries was excellent especially the al-la-carte restaurant.  I'm sorry to say that this time it let us down a little.  Sandra has sea Bream with veg and rosti potatoes, to say was disappointed is an understatement.  The veg and spud were limps and flaccid whilst the fish had a soggy skin which should be crisp and delicious.  The whole concoction was tepid at best   She sent it back with a complaint via the Polynesian waiter for it to be returned slightly warmer having been subjected to Gamma rays in a microwave.  Needless to say she left it.  Mine was better but still only like average pub grub which it should not be as you really do pay premium prices on board.  We where not even offered something in the line of emolument offered as an apology an as such there is going to be a strongly worded complaint about it after this blog is complete.

Sights along the way
Cruise liners.
A light evening meal on the canal side.
 This year the ferry times for our Anek ferry from Venice have altered and it departs at lunch time.  In previous years we have travelled the seven hundred or so kilometres from Germany to Venice with a couple of hours spare for catching the ferry at about five o'clock.  This is now impractical as for a twelve sailing you need to aim at being there for about ten o'clock to give time for check in and in case of problems en-route.  This meant we would have to get there the night before and find some suitable accommodation and then a leisurely check in in the morning.  We had planned to stay in some cabins at Fusina, adjacent to the ferry terminal, last year with Allan and Jean.  This had to be aborted because of various problems including my stroke but we decided to give it a try now.  It's fifty Euros a night for a two berth cabin with aircon and en-suite.  They are clean and adequate and also there is a water taxi goes every hour from just outside the site across to the centre of Venice at thirteen Euros fifty each return.  We have been through Venice on many occasions but never in it, so we decided that this would make a nice use of our extra time there so it was off into the ancient streets of Venice for our evening meal.

An intriguing bridge and gondola. 
You obviously can't see anything much of the place in one evening but it has reinforced our desire to go there for a few days at some point and explore further.  A word of warning though to anyone who has not been, it's not the cheapest place in the world by an stretch of the imagination so make sure you have a pocket full of money.

 The next morning we had a leisurely breakfast before going into the terminal for our last leg on the ferry ti Igumenitsa in Greece.  Whilst waiting to get our tickets Sandra saw a strange man in the queue looking all alone and forlorn.  It was Ian from Vafkeri on Lefkada who had done some carpentry work for me a couple of years ago.  This meant that we had someone else to talk to on the crossing to Greece.

Loading up on Anek waiting to leave Fusina.
By contrast with P&O ferries which had a good  reputation for food, Anek have a mediocre one but again a change of fate with them too.  We had the best meal we have ever had on Anek and much more reasonably priced when you consider they have a captive audience and Greece is almost bankrupt!

Last sight of the terminal now en-route.
The crossing normally takes about twenty five or six hours but we made good time this journey and were docked in Igumenitsa in twenty four and a half hours a record for us.  The advantage of setting off at mid day meant that we landing in the early afternoon and thus we could drive back to Lefkada in the daylight and 32 degrees of heat.  An hour and a half later we are back on the marina to see Lesanda again, how I missed her!

Oh how great to be finally eating out al-fresco.

 Of course she still had her winter cover on and was all closed up so she was something of a sweat box when we got on but soon improved as we got her opened up.

We have since given her a good wash down and removed the winter cover and it's steel work which we have replaced with the bimini.  We were going to get a new bimini cover before I had my stroke but we cancelled it before returning to the UK, we may now wait until next year before replacing it.

Winter cover down already - it's only September.
We have had many, many people stopping by to ask how we are going on and wanting to know about how we spent our summer?, how Sandra's dad is?, how's the grand children? etc. so we are feeling very much at home and loved by all.  Thank you all both here and at home for you kindness and thoughts.

More soon, Les and Sandra.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

It's the final countdown...

Well, we are well into our last week in the UK and we are getting all excited to start the homeward bound journey.  We have a few last minute things to do before we return though but before that...

Last Friday we went to Scarborough to have a day out with our old friend Pete (of the Katoghi fame) and the new love of his life "MeJulie", it's Julie really but Pete always refers to her as "MeJulie".  We had a real fun day and a couple of pit stops for coffee before fish 'n' chips at Molly Malone's famous chippy.  Thanks for a great day you guys it's great to see you so happy Pete and welcome to the party Julie.

Back at the homestead we have spent the last week and a half under a tiled roof rather than an aluminium one and it's amazing.  We are so used to being under either the boat roof and the caravan one and when it rains you've got to turn the telly or radio up full blast to hear anything, in a house you don't even know it's raining until you look outside, not a sound.  The other really noticeable thing is you can walk around the bed, what a treat when it comes to making it in a morning or (as us oldies do) getting up during the night for the loo.  The downside is, my insomnia seems to have returned with a vengeance.  I'm always a early riser but whilst being in John's house I have only slept beyond four o'clock twice and even then was up at five thirty.  Hey ho...

Anyway we have got the top box sorted again for the car, it was stored in the garage roof for the last two or three years and when I got it down there was half an inch of muck settled on the top.  It's taken me a full days work to get it cleaned and polished again ready to put on the car this weekend.  We are not bringing much back with us but thought it would make a good shed for stuff we don't need on the boat when we are out and about, YES we are going out in it barring any more strokes.  If I can't man the ropes we'll just motor but out we will be!

Just a little decorating to do tomorrow in Sandra's dads house whilst we are still here and then wash and polish the car, put the top box on and pack her up then next Wednesday we sail from Hull to Zeebrugge.

We are going to have some chips tonight which we don't very often have at home but John has an actifry in the kitchen so Sandra is going to try that out, I shall reserve judgement.

No blog next week as we'll be somewhere in central Europe and the computer will be packed away, Look forward to seeing the Lefkas crowd sometime from Sunday 13th onwards.