Unfortunately even paradise does not run itself and so, around and in between visitors, we have been getting on with the daily details of life and house ownership, as well as dealing with the added pressure of having two Greek lessons each week.
In fact, although we don’t feel that our spoken Greek has improved that much, we do now manage to converse with our Greek neighbours much more easily than when we first arrived and Sheila in particular is able to visit the ‘ladies of the Parish’ (well Maria) and keep her end up for half an hour or so over coffee and cakes.
It is still difficult to conduct an ordinary conversation with most Greek people however, simply because most of them speak English much better than we speak Greek, so ‘important’ matters such as the Bank and the Car Repair Shop tend to be carried out in English. Still, σιγά, σιγά (slowly, slowly) as they say here!
Our friend Rich has set up the new TV to show all manner of films which he has provided on a beast of an external hard drive. He and ‘Fifer’ Shona (whom we got to know through our Greek class) came over a week or so ago and Rich also got the 3D films to work, as our TV came complete with two sets of 3D glasses. Of course, we both look like a couple of prats with the glasses on but ‘The Lion King’ was a completely different experience with butterflies scooting around our sitting room!
The new garden furniture arrived yesterday, at some expense, from a local company (English run!) and we are very pleased with it. Although readers may feel that I am not quite so sure! The truth was that the sun was in my eyes or was it the new haircut?
Now, all we need is the sail-cloth cover for the κρεβατίνα (literally vine-arbour!) and we shall be all set for summer. Thassos has already been to fit a bracket to the chimney, hopefully to prevent it blowing away again and we are meeting him in town tomorrow morning to meet his friend who deals in sail-cloth!
The aim eventually, is to persuade the vines to grow up and over and to provide shade in the summer months as well as to produce grapes for eating – perhaps even for our own wine!
Well, no, actually but it is a nice thought. With local wine costing 2.60 euros in the supermarket for one and a half litres it is hardly worth the effort. Anyway, the demi-johns all went to the charity shop in Kirkcudbright.
The weather has improved significantly over the past ten days or so and we have begun to swim regularly, if not every day.
My niece, Heidi, stayed with us for a few days over last weekend en route to an academic conference in Heraklion and she braved the water a couple of times and even felt the need to shelter from the sun on one such occasion.
All that hard work then deserved a cool beer!
All the rain and now the sun has encouraged the weeds to put in an appearance, so last week I turned to and set about them on our front path. Perhaps swimming trunks were not the best gardening gear but I certainly kept cool!
April has also seen the return of various friends from Northern Europe – the Cretan equivalent of bird migration! So, we have welcomed back Peter and Hilda and Walter and Brigitte, all from Germany and look forward to spending more time with them over the coming months. Sheila was back playing tennis this morning with Brigitte and although it did not go entirely satisfactorily from her point of view (ie she lost!), they are playing again next week, so it was clearly an enjoyable time. Meanwhile, Walter took his car to the garage, as indeed, did I. Is this a men’s thing, I wonder?
Unfortunately, the car, which was in for its service, is not in great shape, even though it seems to be running rather well (or so we thought). So, it returns on Monday to have the front brakes done and various other matters attended to, such as a new timing belt – whatever that does? They made it sound serious (or at least predicted serious consequences) if it were not attended to, so there goes another three or four hundred euros. Still, with the pound riding high against the euro at present, not only is it a good time for Brits to come here but we also get a lot more for our pension. There are some upsides to the Crisis!
With all this extra money, I have decided to replace my ageing computer. Manos is on the case at the local computer shop but there doesn’t seem to be a computer to be had in the whole of Greece at present – something about stock problems over Easter! It sounds unlikely, I know, but to use our favourite Greek phrase – Tι να κάνουμε; (What can we do?). Sheila thinks that it is a refreshing reflection on Greek attitudes to life. Me, I would just like my new computer!
Gifts of food continue from the neighbours. Maria’s brother brought fresh sardines last week which needed to be gutted and scraped! Fortunately, Maria arrived as we were looking bemused and sorted them out. I found a recipe in our Cretan Cookbook and despite not liking fish very much, even I had to admit that they were quite tasty.
Vegetables and fruit also arrive daily and of course life would not be the same, if Nikos did not turn up with yet another pumpkin – this I think was because one day I described him, in Greek, as the pumpkin man, which he seemed to take as a compliment.
Postscript – we now know that the cover for the pergola is going to cost 280 euros – somewhat more than the 30 euros that Thassos had predicted!