Home improvements continue at a steady pace here in Kavousi. I have now nearly finished painting the outside of the house with just some touching up here and there still to be done. Then it is back to varnishing doors and windows and perhaps doing something about ill-fitting doors before next winter.
Heidi and Manu, who painted the inside of the house way back when, returned on Saturday to look over what has been achieved since November when they were last here. I think we got grudging acceptance from Manu (a man of very high standards) regarding the wall, the roof, the αποθήκη (garden shed) and the new gate (of which more later). He was clearly less impressed with my attempts to paint over damp patches in the outside walls where the plaster is somewhat dodgy but seemed to accept the logic when I explained that it was just a stop-gap measure. Little does he know that my stop-gap measures tend to last for years!
A few weeks back we decided that we must clear out our remaining ‘stuff’ from the store in Dumfries. A not inconsiderable amount of furniture, including a piano needs to be disposed of through the British Heart Foundation (so if anyone knows of any young folk needing to kit out a flat, get in touch quick) and most of the remainder will come out here courtesy of Nomad International who run a monthly lorry to Crete from the UK.
To accommodate forty cardboard boxes and other ‘very important’ papers of Sheila’s, requires additional storage so I decided to have built what every man needs – a shed or in Greek an αποθήκη! I was going to buy one and get it erected from an English guy who makes them, along the coast but when the locals got to here of it, I was persuaded to allow Thouli (an Albanian friend of Vasili of Great Wall fame) to build it.
It is somewhat larger than I intended but by common consent he did a good job and it is now ready for the boxes for which a September arrival is planned.
Our next project was a new gate and railings around the wall to the front of the house. Thassos who built the railings which sit above the Great Wall had been promising to build and fit the latest additions for some weeks and finally he arrived ten days ago just after I had finished painting the front wall.
He has done another great job and we are both really pleased with the result which has improved the appearance of our house from the front approach immeasurably.
And of course, after the work is finished, it is obligatory to share a blether and a raki and admire the handiwork. Thassos is a fine fellow who speaks some English and was admiring our vine (complete with grapes) whilst explaining that he has 600 on his land. His raki was great and later he brought us a bottle of his wine. To look at it, it is not much – a sort of cloudy red but wow, what a great taste – a sort of lightish red retsina!
On Monday of last week, we met up with Peter and Hidde in the hills above our house for an early evening walk – it is really now too hot to walk in the heat of the day. I had planned a route which would take us to the top of the range of hills which overlook Kavousi and the Gulf of Mirabello.
We inevitably took a wrong turning along the way but eventually found the ruined shack which sits atop the ridge and enjoyed a few minutes of gazing at the stunning views from the Sea of Crete (Aegean) to the north to Ierapetra and the Libyan Sea to the south.
I was wearing new trainers and wrecked the nail on one big toe but that apart, it was a fine stroll, finished as all good walks should, by a beer at the taverna before we adjourned to ‘Captian Yianni’s’ for our supper.
Mike and Christine arrived the following day from Kirkcudbright, to be welcomed by a tempest the like of which we have not seen since moving here. We had a power failure whilst we were eating supper and did not get reconnected until the following morning. Fortunately, the only casualty was a plastic table which took to the air and landed down below missing two legs, one of which we never did find, despite the best mountaineering efforts of Mike!
Sheila and Chris were tennis partners (and rivals) at Kirkcudbright Tennis Club and were strangely drawn against one another in the first round of a veterans competition at Ierapaetra over the weekend.
Chris won narrowly and progressed to the next round where she met a very much younger woman (it transpires that veterans here means over 30’s). She put up a good fight but eventually went out in very hot conditions at the weekend, while Sheila and I were at a very English tea party – pass the cucumber sandwiches Vicar!
Since the Tempest, the weather has generally been good so we have spent a lot of time with Christine and Mike on the beach relaxing.
The sea is now quite warm and there is nothing like a cool beer after the daily exercise!
It’s potato harvest time here in Crete and so there is a huge surplus. So, as is becoming customary, we are the beneficiaries! Yianni turned up last week with a big bag, quickly followed by Niko who brought two bags. Then, when we got home yesterday, Thassos had dropped off a further bag. We now have enough potatoes for the rest of the year. The only problem is where to store them! Marrows too are in strong supply but that’s another story.
Finally, Bonnie has asked me to confirm that the rumours which seem to be abroad of her early demise are a false and that she is very alive and kicking! To date, there has been no recurrence of the cancer reported on late last year and although she has slowed down a lot (like her owner some might say), she seems to be coping well with the summer heat. Long may it continue!
We now put the hose on her every two weeks or so to get the dust out of her coat. She doesn’t much like the procedure but seems to be happier when she has dried off and has had a rewarding Smacho.