It is always a good feeling for me when I find that it is the first week of October as it signals the start of celebration for my birthday. Now, you might think that there is not much to feel good about being 62 but my natural enthusiasm for birthdays remains undimished even after so many of them! This years was particularly memorable. I have spent a number of years ‘downsizing’ and so small presents are particularly welcome.
John gave me some lovely earrings and some nice stuff from the Ierapetra version of ‘the Body Shop’. I did think the anti-ageing face cream had come a little late in the day but I am definitely going to give it a try! My Greek neighbour, Maria, baked me a lovely cake and gave me a pair of pink slippers (they are called pantouffles in Greek). I have admired hers for a long time. I was given books and videos and even received a few text messages and as usual facebook made me feel pretty special for the day.
On top of all that John treated me to a holiday for two nights at the Istron Bay Hotel which is about 15 minutes from where we live. So after our Greek lesson on the day of the birthday, we drove to the hotel and were given an upgrade to the ‘superior’ room that John had booked. It was a small apartment and very nice too. The hotel is situated above a lovely bay
And being 62 for me is going to be particularly rewarding as I claim my state pension in the next year. For most of my working life, I expected this to happen on my 60th birthday and was unhappy to be told only a few years ago that it would be delayed. I am, however, luckier than many women, not much younger than me, who will wait till they are 66 to receive it. Given the comparatively short notice women were given in relation to this change, I still feel angry that a group of women who had expectations of state income at the age of 60 were given so little notice of the change. Rant over!
After we came back, Dave and Gunilla came at the end of the week for a long weekend.
Dave is an old school friend of John’s and they spent some time going down memory lane with lots of photos, now happily here and not in a store in Dumfries. Dave and Gunilla live in Stockholm and we used to visit them from Scotland for a weekend every so often with a Ryanair flight from Prestwick. We had a good time during their visit. The weather continued to be warm and sunny so it was possible to combine Minoan sites and short trips in the mountains and to Mochlos, a very pretty village, near us,
lying on the beach and eating at local tavernas. It was really nice to see them both and I now have two Wallander books to read and a beautiful pewter on reindeer hide bracelet. John has a large bottle of whisky!
Our Greek classes continue. This is the building where we study in a pleasant environment only a few metres from the beach with the mountains behind.
Our Greek text book has a series of themes. The theme for the past couple of weeks has been excursions and John and I have tried hard to increase our vocabulary and conversation on this topic as it is quite important for us in terms of travelling around the island.
Recently we have had a number of trips. At the beginning of October, we went for a beautiful walk with our friends, Hilde and Peter, in the hills near Anatoli which is about 15 km from Ierapetra. First there was the walk,
Then, our friends Brigitte and Walter, asked us if we would like to go with them to the small island of Chrisi. This is the major tourist excursion from Ierapetra and John and I had never been there because in the height of summer, it is either too hot or too busy …… But none of these reasons seemed valid last Friday so we made our way to the jetty. Unfortunately, we chose a day when the weather was to change and just as we were about to embark and the trip was cancelled for the day because of forecasted high winds! Instead we went to Tertsa along the coast and enjoyed the waves,
It is Halloween this month and we have already received two pumpkins from our neighbours. It doesn’t really seem appropriate to make a ‘tumshy’ lantern as I don’t think the neighbours would understand this celebration as an appropriate use of a pumpkin. So John has made excellent spicy pumpkin soup and stuffed pumpkin, also delicious. The problem with pumpkin though is they are so big and there are only two of us!
Yesterday the weather changed again and it was pretty stormy on the north coast here.
We travelled to the south coast this morning and found it even windier than the north and there are signs that the tourist season is coming to an end. This is the beach in front of our Greek class hall with nobody there anymore. The sky looks beautiful but there was a howling gale!
And on the theme of winter, we are beginning to consider Christmas. Graham, Emily and Rosie are joining us which is yet another treat. We have ordered some Christmas cards but then realised that most people, should they want to send us a card, have the wrong address as we moved here last year after we sent our Christmas letter. So our address is:
John Burt and Sheila Wood
There are no street names in the village and the postman knows where we live!! And that is enough mention of Christmas in October!!!