Thursday, 9 June 2016

So it's goodbye from him....

Indian food at Palairos.
 Well, I guess that's all folks, On Saturday morning before the sun rises we will be waiting for the ferry at Igoumenitsa to take our last journey home from this land of the gods.  Which means that "From Yorkshire to Greece" will no longer exist and our Greek odyssey will be over.

Al Fresco dining in Lefkas at Voglia
It's been a fantastic nine years we've been out here but of course all things come to an end.  We'll miss many people and many places but the call of Yorkshire is upon us and family commitments mean that now is the right time to do it.

One of our last Lefkadian sunsets
Lesanda is still up for sale under the auspices of Network Yacht Brokers with David and Paula who seem confident that she will sell fairly soon, Thanks guys the cash will be handy as we move on with our new lives.

In the time since our last blog (sorry for lack of updates) we have "rescued" Geoff from hospital and potentially having to go into a care home.  We have got him back into his own house all beit living downstairs and with carers visiting three times a day.  Sandra is doing the cooking and washing and our lovely Daughter in law Jane is cleaning for him so he's going to have some pampering in his dotage.  We have also found ourselves a nice little house in the historic market town of Howden (all cobbled streets etc.) and furnished it all prior to heading back here last Sunday to get the car and our remaining kit before returning to the UK.  Thanks for all the kind thoughts and messages of support from every one and Thanks for reading my diatribe of the years. And it's goodnight from her...

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Happy Birthday your majesty...

 Today is the ninetieth birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.  What a fantastic job she has done for Britain, the commonwealth and much of the world in general without being political at all.  A fine example of a human being, whether or not you are a royalist you can't help but admire her.  Happy Birthday Ma'am.

Tomorrow the Olympic flame will be ignited at Ancient Olympia in the Peloponnese, there will be a relay of the flame through Lefkas tomorrow afternoon around 16:30 by four Local "heroes", which I guess will be something a bit different.  The flame will of course be heading to Brazil ending up at Rio in time for the summer games.

We got back to the marina yesterday for our weekly couple of nights on the boat and just got settled down when some guys on the charter boat next to us started deep sanding all the teak decking.  What a god awful mess they made of our boat and so today we have had to clean her all down - again!.  It was a good job that we had taken down the winter cover and replaced it with the bimini shade so at least all the powered wood and  black sikaflex adhesive didn't get on the main canvas, We had left up the spray-hood though so this will have to come down tomorrow and go with us back to Sivota where, at Ray and Linda's place I have the room to lay it all out and clean it properly.
At least the Charter boss did offer to hose it off for us but we know he wouldn't have done it like us and of course Lesanda is up for sale so she needs to look loved.

The next week will be our last week at Sivota looking after Ray and Linda's, I would just like to thank them for letting us do it.  It was especially poignant for me as it's exactly a year since we lived there last year after my stroke and it gave me the time and strength to be able to make the journey back home.  Much has happened over the last twelve months since but at that time I didn't foresee a great future ahead for us, now, hopefully things are much brighter.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Hot under the collar...

Karen, Debbie and Sanny.
Not much to say this week, we've been having a lazy time of it, tucked away at Sivota.  The weather has been gradually getting warm and today is the best day so far of the year with the Temperature this afternoon in Preveza at twenty nine degrees, a touch cooler here in Lefkada at twenty seven.

With the warmth of course has come a mosquito or two and Sanny has spotted them.  Usually this happens at fifty paces minimum and preventative measures have then to be put in place, post haste before she gets attacked by the little critters.  However, she spotted one in the boat this morning so now all of the mossy nets have to be returned to the windows and hatches before any skin is allowed to be exposed to a potential attack which could result in the black death ravaging Europe once more.
Ray's car post wash and polish.

During my spare time I have cleaned and polished Ray and Linda's car as I promised them I would, I don't think the results are too shabby given the starting point. I had to chase the shade around to polish her as the polish was setting solid before it could be removed.  Hope you guys are enjoying your break in the UK and not worrying about the havoc being unleashed in and about you house!

Thursday, 31 March 2016

End of winter....

Brian and Jez on their birthdays.
 Once again I'm plagiarising other peoples work and using photo's that owe absolutely nothing us.  Thanks Jules, Linda and Karen for the images.

Sunday saw the mutual birthdays of Brian and Jez, and an off Island meal out was duly organised at Ag.Nikolaos, near the airport turning.  About fifty or so people turned out and we all had a fine evening of banter, laughter and food, not to mention the drink....  I said NOT to mention the drink.  Some people didn't get back to their boats until three in the morning and many a thick head was very obvious the next day!

Superb rainbox captured by Jules.

 On Monday Sandra and I decamped to Sivota to reside at Ray and Linda's house while they are on tour back to the UK.  It's always a pleasure to stay there with the stupendous views over to Kefalonia and Ithaka.  It's great sat out on the terrace watching the ferries negotiate between the islands on their way to and from Patras all lit up like Christmas trees in the night time.  Thanks for the loan of the bed guys!

We do need to spend some of our time back at Lefkada however with the boat being up for sale so we came back last night and went across to Palairos to have an Indian meal with Deb and Jez.

Ray, en-route (Photo Linda) 
Debs and Sanny (Photo Karen)
With the clocks having moved forward the sunset here doesn't happen until eight o'clock time so it doesn't actually get dark while about half past and the daytime temperatures are now well established in the lower to mid twenties.  This and the fact that many people's winter mooring fees expire at the end of the month seems to have prompted a radical exodus from the marina.  Our pontoon now looks desolate, Bagpuss with Ricky and Andrea have gone up to Paxos, Deb and Jez in Nita, are doing a our of the inland sea which is a bit of a sea trial for their new yacht.  Several other people are beavering away ready to make a swift exit into the wild blue yonder and get their sailing season under way.

Us?  We're just waiting for someone to turn up with a bag full of cash, well you know what they say? you can wish in one hand....

Thursday, 24 March 2016

to review the review...

 We went down to Vasiliki the other day just for a look around and was astounded that work on the new ferry terminal and marina is still ongoing but nothing seems to be really happening as a result of months and months of hard work.  Yes it has altered a little but you get the feeling that it could take several millennia before anything concrete (pun intended) happens.

The big event of the week was of the NIVADS production "1940's Review" took place at Vlicho Yacht club.  As always it was an excellent nights entertainment with some outstanding performances and even those who needed a little more polish deserved their plaudits for their bravery and hard work.

We had a great time and enjoyed the fine fare which was laid on by Vicky and Ruairi so the whole event was sustenance for body and mind.

Well done all the NIVADS team front and back stage for yet another memorable event.

We have had several viewings for Lesanda this week including a guy who has been out from Paris just to have a look at her.  He does seem to be making the right sort of noises and seemed quite excited but this is perhaps a little early in the proceedings.  So we now have some confidence that there are people out there who are looking to buy.  Converting interest to hard cask may yet prove to be more of a problem though, we shall see.

We had a farewell pontoon party and jumble sale yesterday.  Farewell to the people who will be leaving the marina at the end of this month after overwintering we hope you have had a great winter here and hopefully you'll return at some point in the future.  Also Vicky organised a performance by White Beach at Porto Bar for the evening, thanks to her for that, a great time was had with great music, shame about the miserable weather.

Hope you like all the pictures from the review, I've got to admit I'm not responsible for them, they're way to good for me.  Lilias Morgan posted them on Facebook and it is to her that I'm indebted.  Well that's about all for now, hopefully more to say next week.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

hectic normality returns...

Suits you sir.
 Sandra's welcome return was just in time for this years carnival which happens all over Greece to mark the start of lent 40 days before Easter (1st of May is Easter Sunday in Greece).

Got the big boy on his back.
All this weeks pictures are by courtesy of Jules, our great and talented antipodean friend who used her womanly wiles to get up close and personal with the many and varied floats and performers taking place in the Mardi-Gras.

YMCS time?
He's even got bigger feet then me!
 I'm afraid tat my efforts were somewhat thwarted by the crowds of people not wanting to forfeit their prime locations for a foreigner sporting a mobile phone.  Equally I did not want to force my way through and perhaps spoil something of a rare happy party atmosphere for these people who really don't have that much going for them at the moment.

Exo-pants not for the fainthearted.

Before colour we had black and white.
 The weather stayed fine and despite the fact that a couple of days before the forecast was for thunder storms with up to force eleven winds, it remained dry and mostly calm.  Good to know that the forecasters get it wrong in the right direction from time to time.

The day before Shrove Tuesday here is Clean Monday and the traditional thing to do is go down to the beach and fly kites.  The weather was this time against them as it rained and their was very little wind but some people did brave the cold and manage to get their brightly coloured kites souring across the leaden skies.
In case of rain this new number has brolly built in.
 At the weekend Pete and Lou, had someone to look at their boat which is up for sale.  The people thought that it was too big for them so Lou rang us to ask if they could come and inspect ours along with a couple of others which are for sale on our pontoon.  As it happens this couple came from Chester-le-Street very close to some good friends or our (Andy and Janice) we spent a good hour or so not only looking over Lesanda but also talking of people and places we all knew very well indeed.  They seemed quite taken by the boat and have gone back to the UK with at least a better idea of what they want, even if it's not our boat.  But you never know.
Not all Greeks are vertically challenged.

Some just don't have the looks.

Rainy day kite flying
 We've had a good engine run this morning to make sure that all is well as we are expecting someone from France coming to loo at Lesanda next week so there is a least some interest in her, I just hope that they are not all "tyre kickers".  I guess to come out from France shows a certain amount of commitment though.
Or the Irish use it as a brolly.

Is it a bird?
Tonight it's down to Vlicho Yacht Club, to watch this years NIVADS presentation "1940's Review" from early reports it sounds like it's gonna be a real treat.

Happy Saint Patrick's day to all my Irish Friends, don't fall over too hard!

Thursday, 10 March 2016

The wanderer returning...

Excuse the mess it won't be like that tomorrow!
 It doesn't seem like two weeks ago this morning that San departed for Athens en-route to the UK and today she has started her return leg.  She's having an overnight stay in a hotel at Manchester airport as she needs to be there at six in the morning which would have meant leaving home at silly o'clock and having a taxi.  This way she is more rested and relaxed and it won't be costing a whole lot more.  By tomorrow evening, strikes permitting, she should be back home.

Shiny top sides again. 
I have been working for the full time like a man possessed with cleaning, polishing and small repair jobs which needed doing.  These little jobs are best done when San is not here because she has a tendency to follow me around with the vacuum cleaner only for me to promptly make some more mess where she has just cleaned.  I, on the other hand can live with the muck as long as it takes to do the work.

and she looks all right from the front too.

 The difficulty has been getting a break in the weather to do the outside stuff like polishing Lesanda's hull.  I finally got the opportunity on Tuesday and was rewarded in the evening with a trip to the Indian restaurant at Palairos with Debbie and Jez.  Of course being on my own I also brought home a take-away to have on Wednesday.  I am not the greatest cook in the world, I manage but Sanny is a hard act to follow.  Anyway that'll soon be a thing of the past.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

just a quicky to let folks know I'm not dead (yet)!

Sanny set off for the UK last Thursday from here and after an overnight stop in Athens flew to Manchester.  I on the other hand had a stack of jobs as long as my arm to complete.  It's much better doing some of the work whilst Sandra isn't about to see the muck and the upheaval, she would just follow me about with mop and duster in hand!

The love of life distracted as usual.
She has made it to her dads house safely and found him to be very hail and hearty but unfortunately as is often the case when you travel by plane, she has picked up a myriad germs and has now succumbed to a cold or flu type thing and sounds proper poorly on the phone.

On Friday I went out to Kevan's Birthday bash at Festino's, a good time was had by all and as luck would have it the rugby was on after later so we all had an excuse to come home early and sober.  I have not been out since but have been managing to feed myself not that it  would matter I could do to shed a stone or three.

I have got on fairly well with the work until yesterday when the weather has somewhat closed in on us and today also it is wet and quite cold, at least by Greek standards, says he before he is reminded of the Artic conditions back in the frozen north.

Anyway, with luck and a fair wind Sanny will be home next Friday to muck me out and general nag as only a good woman can.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

the wandering Waddy's in the Peloponnese, part two...

A room with a view in the hotel Byron.
 Well here it is the end of our Peloponnese odyssey.  We moved from Sparta to Nafplion last Thursday and wow, I think this is my new favourite area in Greece.  With places like Epidavros and Mycenae on the doorstep and the islands of Poros, Hydra.Dokos and Spetsies just up the coast it has to be a place where you can spend time.
Eating al fresco in February.

The Corinth Canal taken from the "sinking bridge".
 Nafplio is a beautiful town with great history culture and food to be had there.  It was the original capital city of Greece and beats the current one hands down for friendliness and cleanliness, we were impressed.

We stayed at the Byron Hotel a quintesentially quaint and quirky place, just beneath the walls of one of the town's forts with views over the rooftops down to the harbour.  Great little place and for our three night stay it was only €114 (£88) with breakfast and good fast internet.

The only thing which may affect some people visiting is that being built on a mountain side there are very steep slopes and many stairs both in the streets and in the hotel which has no lift.  That said it is a very small price to pay and it does aid sleeping when you get home exhausted on a night.

The sinking bridge in the up position.
As you can guess we didn't manage to visit all the local archaeological sites as we only had three nights so really two days to do it in.  So we missed the main Site at Epidavros which I would guess is the best part of a days visit in itself.

The small Theatre at Epidavros.
We visited the small theatre though which you can get directly to with your car but we walked about a mile through orange groves to get there, sampling the wares en-route.  On returning to the car there was an old jolly Greek guy sat nearby who gave us another Orange, he said "they were the best" and he was correct, like nectar.

Waterfall in the city walls at Nafplion.
We also Visited the Corinth canal to see the sinking bridge which is dragged down bodily through the water to allow ships to travel over the top, a very novel way to solve the problem.

 Onwards to the world famous vineyards (well it is to the Greeks) of Nemea.  We sampled and delighted in their really very good produce although I'm certainly no expert and ended up buying a couple of bottles to take home with us.

Unloading turbine blades in Nafplion harbour
 On returning to Nafplio we notice a large ship in the harbour with wind turbine blades being unloaded.  Being always one to have a look at the unusual I had a walk down there to nosey.  Not a lot of health and safety going on with the riggers who were climbing all over the blades getting straps in place in order to transfer the blades to the awaiting vehicles.

70 foot low loader not big enough then.
I would estimate each blade being about 150 to 170 foot long and the wind was blowing but it didn't stop them shifting their cargo.  The low loading wagons were perhaps 70 to 80 foot long but as you can see from the picture there is a monstrous overhang at the back.  I was wondering how they would get them onto site but as it happened they moved them about a quarter of a mile to the other end of the harbour and lifted them onto terra-firma.  Overall a very interesting thing to witness.

Galatas looking from Poros, our water taxi.
Fisherman giving the cat his share.
The next day we decided to visit Poros and Galatas where we had intended looking at perhaps overwintering when we went looking at marinas around Athens last year.  I wish we had gone there then I think we could well have moved last spring before I had my stroke.  It's fantastic, only really a town quay but you could still moor up there very comfy as there is electricity and water laid on all along the quay and showers available at several places even in winter.  There is a hydrofoil runs all year around between the islands and across to Athens so it would have been a great location for the winter months.  Ah well it was not to be.

We found a small restaurant in Nafplio which was exceptional in it's quality and presentation, the latter of which the Greeks are not famous for.  It was called Kitton and positioned in one of the town squares, beautiful food in a really nice setting slightly premium prices but generally the food there is a little dearer than it is here.  I would whole heartedly recommend it.

Our residence, Hotel Byron
In our minds the best restaurant in Nafplio, Kitton.
 Next Morning the trip home was meant to take in the rack and pinion railway which goes through the Vouraikos Gorge from Diakopto to Karavryta and takes around a hour each way.  Unfortunately the train was full until the 14:30 train, this would have meant a four and a half hour wait and also getting back to Lefkas very late bearing in mind that we knew the farmers were on strike and block major roads in a very random fashion you really don't want to finding a new route home in the dark.  So with this in mind we set off without doing the train trip but we can always do it again at some other time.

As it happened we did the right thing as access to the motorway was blocked at Messalonghi and we ended up coming home along the old coast road to Asterkos and a lovely ride it was too.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

The Waddy's lightening tour of the Peloponnese part one...

And we are going nowhere fast.
 On Monday we set off on our much waited for "world tour of the Peloponnese.  This is an area of Greece which we have not visited in the past other than transiting the north on the way to Athens or going to Patras.  We had decided that our first stop for a couple of nights would be at Olympia, the original location of the Olympic games some three thousand of so years ago.

Money problems with the regional council cause this.
The guy who owned the house which we originally lived in when we moved out to Assos actually lives there and we did think that we may stand a chance of bumping into them.  Just before we left we managed to find someone who knew them but of course as it was a whistle stop tour we didn't get a chance to renew our acquaintance.   We did however learn that his wife Yorta (incorrect spelling but that's how it's pronounced), is very ill, so we just sent or best wishes to them via this friend or theirs.  Shame.

Just some of the road block components.

But there's always a glass of wine waiting.
A visit to the ancient ruins there is a must and also the museums of which there are three in Olympia as well.  The only trouble is that although there is plenty of space and no crowds at this time of year they all close at three in the afternoon so it makes it a little tight when you've only got the one full day so we managed to get two museums in on the day we arrived and the site and final museum on the following, full, day.
She's not quite 3500 years old but following their footsteps.

Part of the temple to Zeus, one of the seven wonders.
Our Journey down there took over an hour longer than it should have due to tractors blocking the motorway before you get Messalongi resulting in a long detour, and then again as we approached Olympia when we had to take a unsurfaced road for about 10 Kms.  In the municipal area of Olympia (not in the village itself but for miles around it) there are huge piles of waste.

It seems that they have no space for land-fill and the money had been found for a factory to dispose of it but the money went missing!!  Perhaps this isn't a unique story but it's a real bloody mess.

Wednesday we set of for Sparta via Kalamata where we wanted to look at the marina.  We quite liked Kalamata and the marina, a little shabby but never the less we could have spent one winter there although I guess it could get very lumpy on the water with southerly wind blowing.
The carvings which formed the Apex of a Zeus' roof (poetic?)

The theatre at Olympia 

Part of the stunning 40km gorge between Kalamata and Sparta
 The scenery down the west side of the Peloponnese is really not that great compared to most of the rest of Greece which we have seen, in fact we were somewhat under whelmed by it.  However, the ride over the mountains from Kalamata to Sparta is something else.  Going from sea level right up over the highest peaks, normally well above the snow at this time of year but luckily for us not this time, although there was the remnants of it.  The road more or less follows a gorge for forty glorious kilometres, it's absolutely stunning. You are recommended to have tyre chains on this road, we didn't because we knew that to date the winter has been very gentle but we also knew that if things started getting bad we could reverse our passage and go the alternative route via the motorway to Tripoli.
Millions of Spider's nests in the trees

Road hewn through the mountain.

And sometimes hung precariously over you.
Sparta is a very bustling place I would imagine a little later in the year and judging by the amount of hotels there they must get loads of visitors.  It is a little "Spartan"(pun intended) with regards to having things to do though at this time of year, although the town itself is nice.  We looked high and low for an eatery doing something a little different but failed and as it was raining we returned to the hotel knowing that they did have a restaurant within.  We don't normally eat in hotels as they can be top price and bottom quality.  Not so this one we had a fantastic sole with shrimps (big prawns).  It was the best fish I have EVER eaten in Greece and with starter, bread, water and half a litre of good wine it came to thirty Euros for the two of us.  We have paid more than twice that for much less before.  I can therefore recommend the Maniatis Hotel, which is slap bang in the middle of Sparta very highly if anyone is thinking of going there, the breakfast was great too.

Today it's off to Nafplio but more about that next week.  If anyone wants more information on our hotels, The Pelops in Olympia, The Mantiatis in Sparta or the Byron in Nafplio, drop me a line and I'll give you the low-down.