We have just returned home from a ten day-trip to Scotland, of which more later. We were both looking forward to getting back to our wee house and so it was with some relief that we found that all was well and that our friendly neighbours had looked after everything for us.
However, our joy did not last long because as soon as I started to plug in the computers etc in the dining room, a circuit breaker tripped and when trying to remedy this issue, there was a loud bang and the house was plunged into darkness. In short, nothing worked and try as I might, nothing would work!
So, we found a few candles and there was nothing for it but to leave the unpacking for daylight and head for bed.
We had a Greek lesson first thing and were both keen to go, having missed far more than we should by being away but clearly one of us had to stay behind. I drew the short straw but it was Sheila who solved the crisis when she visited the baker’s shop for our daily loaf.
Our friend Maria happened to be there and after the usual hugs and kisses, Sheila explained the problem (in Greek of course). The shop was agog and even the normally taciturn assistant gave Sheila a hug when she explained that she couldn’t stop because she a Greek class! A fellow customer then got out his mobile and called the electrician and almost as soon as Sheila returned to the house, he duly arrived!
It took some fiddling with fuses outside the house and a visit to his storeroom but within half an hour, everything was working. I missed the class but it was well worth it. Talking over the experience later, we agreed that the help we received was probably as a direct result of the effort we have made since we moved to Kavousi to make friends with our neighbours and because we have made an effort to learn and speak Greek to them.
We are glad that we have done this for many reasons but particularly because we have seen examples where ex-pats have not bothered to learn the language and be friendly, have been ripped off and have had no one to turn to for help except professionals, for whom no doubt, they pay handsomely. We feel that had this happened to us, we would have been helped out by at least some of the locals.
So perhaps effort does bring its own reward and on this note, I return to our trip to Scotland.
It could hardly be said to have been a holiday because we were both very busy but that said, we saw a number of friends and family and Sheila managed a couple of days walking near Fort William.
After relaxing for a couple of nights at Sheila‘s brother’s in Dalgety Bay (and admiring his beautiful garden), we headed for Kirkcudbright to finalise the purchase of a two-bed flat, which will hopefully soon be let out.
Many thanks to David and Bev not only for putting us up but also for helping to facilitate the flat purchase.
With that done, we visited the furniture store in Dumfries to make some hard choices regarding prized and not so prized possessions. Then it was on to Edinburgh to stay the night with Fiona and Sandy, having called in on Mollie, Sheila’s 99 year old friend in Linlithgow along the way.
Thursday morning saw us at the canal boat where I stayed for the weekend to carry out the annual ‘buffing’ ritual and to smarten up the paintwork. But first, I got a shot with a friend’s high pressure hose to try to remove the winter gunge from the cratch cover. It worked a treat – boys with their toys!
I also had time to ‘network’ at the marina and enjoy a visit from Nick, who came over from Edinburgh on Sunday afternoon.
Meanwhile Sheila headed for the hills (on a bike!) with her ex-community work walking buddies and managed to successfully get round the Glenfinnan horseshoe without getting wet!
We had time for a last afternoon and evening in Glasgow with Gillie and Alan before flying back here on Tuesday.
One of the many interesting aspects of our trip were discussions with various folk on the upcoming referendum on Scottish independence. Whilst it is clear that views are strongly held on both sides of the debate, for me there is much regret that many ‘good’ socialists are ditching their internationalist heritage and jumping on the nationalist bandwagon. As happened in both World Wars I think it is particularly unfortunate and somewhat disturbing that once again the perceived national interest seems to count for more than international solidarity.
Looking forward, another unwelcome aspect is the likely closeness of the result. Whoever wins, will they respect the result or are we in for endless argument? For example if Shetland votes ‘No’ then will they be allowed a referendum to secede from the newly independent Scotland. Following his own logic, surely Mr Salmond would have to agree and what then of Scotland’s oil? No one wants to see a Ukraine style nationalist agenda in Scotland but there are parallels and it could happen.
On that cheerful note and adding the caveat that the above views are not necessarily shared by Sheila, we would like to thank everyone for all their help and hospitality during our stay and if we didn’t fit you in this time, we will be back in the summer for a month!
We would also like to thank Hans and Hanneke who looked after Bonnie whilst we were away. Bonnie is well but beginning to show her age. She sleeps a lot now (but there so do I!) and has less energy than she did but can still chase a cat if one dares to appear! Here she is enjoying being back home!