Back and forth

The Eden Project, Cornwall

The Eden Project, Cornwall

Apologies to our devoted readership who could be forgiven for thinking that we have departed these shores! In a sense, that is correct for the absence of recent Postings is a direct result of our having spent some time back in the UK for the last two weeks of June and a number of visitors since we returned here to Crete.

The last two weeks of May were spent in the south of England visiting friends and family, although Sheila had left a few days earlier to go first to Scotland. The main reason for her trip there was to see an old friend of her mother, Mollie Hardie, who had made it to the grand old age of 100 in the previous month. Here she is with her telegram from the Queen.

However, she also found time to visit her brother Sandy and sister-in-law, Winnie, her cousin Helen and various friends, including Mairi and Norman and Maggie and Andrew, before getting the train south and meeting up with me in London.

Sandy's garden

Sandy’s garden

We went first to Jane’s in Wandsworth, where we also met up for supper on our first night with Mark and Sarah and took the opportunity to plan their holiday for early June, of which more later. Then, on the following day, we moved into James’ flat in Battersea which he had kindly vacated for the duration of our stay. However, for me at least it was a very short visit because I was soon off to darkest Sussex to meet up with with friends from University for a re-union at Bill and Ann’s house in East Grinstead.

We had a great time reminiscing, catching up on family and gossip and if truth were known, probably drinking and eating just a tad too much. Many thanks to Bill and Ann for hosting the event.

Meanwhile Sheila spent the weekend meeting various friends – Rosie and Mike from her University days, Sally from the old London Cycling Campaign days and Barbara who we originally knew through our connection with Battersea Boatyard.

 During the next few days, we met up with Graham and Emily

and separately with James and Claire and the girls.


Sheila managed a spot of retail therapy in Oxford Street while I recovered from the excesses of the weekend and then it was time to go our separate ways again when Sheila went to Oxford to see Annie from Tanzania and I went to Wiltshire and Oxfordshire to see cousins Liz and Ida.

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Later in the week, we met up with Emily’s parents, Bruce and Cathy for a walk in Hyde Park, followed by a couple of pints in their local and supper at their flat with Emily and Graham and then on the Friday, we picked up a hire car at Gatwick and set off to stay with my brother Tim and his wife Liz at their new house in Devon, where we spent a great weekend.

They live near a canal so although there are not many boats, the walking is fine and the pubs frequent and well-stocked with interesting beers and very good food!

We were lucky too with the weather and had a really good day visiting our childhood holiday destination of Burnham-on-Sea, which is remarkably unchanged, with donkeys still on the beach and the same ice cream parlour as I used to go to 60 years ago!

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We then headed for Cornwall to meet Rosie who now lives and works in Newquay. She now has her own car and is very happy and we spent a lovely day with her visiting the Eden Project near St Austell. If you don’t know this place, try to visit or at least look up their website – it is very special!

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Finally, we drove back to Sussex for a brief stay with Richard and Jill at Horsham and spent a great evening with them, Jill’s Mum and Derek before heading back to Crete the following afternoon. It had been a really good trip but pretty tiring fitting in so many people and locations.

Crete presented its own problems however. The house was in good shape though but we had missed a lot of Greek language lessons by being away and there much to catch up on – in fact we are still struggling! Also of course, there are much more serious issues facing the people here (including us) as our Government struggles to persuade our so-called ‘partners’ in the Eurozone that the failed policies of the past five years must be changed. At the time of writing, we do not know what will happen but we hope for the best and are full of praise for Alexis Tsipras and Yanis Varoufakis who have played a poor hand well (in our view).

Before long, it was time to welcome our next visitors, Mark and Sarah. Calamity nearly struck the day of their arrival because we were not expecting them until the following day! Fortunately they missed the Kavousi stop on the bus from the Airport so by the time they realised and got off at the next village of Sfaka, we were home from a trip to the beach and took their call! No harm done as their bedroom was ready for them but supper came courtesy of Bobo’s taverna – not a bad option of course, as those of you who have been here, will know!

The weather gradually improved over their stay and soon it was off to Heraklion to meet up with Jane, flying in from London, for a short visit to Agia Galini on the south coast of the Island. We had glorious weather for the duration.

 

No one wanted to do much except lounge on the beach, which was fine by us, although we did fit in a boat trip to the beautiful Preveli Beach from where Allied soldiers were evacuated after the Battle of Crete in 1941.

We dropped off Mark and Sarah at the airport and then spent the day, with Sheila’s nephew and family who were staying at Sisi on the north coast near Malia.

 

The two great nephews, Adam and Elliot were in good form and kept us on our toes.

They had come to us the previous week for lunch and a swim so, we were not unfamiliar and they were soon able to relax and enjoy the attention from their Great Aunt!

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Jane stayed for a few days during which she and Sheila walked to the ancient olive tree and back down the lower gorge and we had many fine swims, including one at Mochlos.

Jane also whiled away the hours on the beach at Koutsouras while we struggled with our Greek language class and returned home intent on providing her guests with a Greek menu for an upcoming dinner party!

Now, it is just us! There is more to tell but it will have to wait for the next exciting episode!

John

 

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7 thoughts on “Back and forth

  1. Martyn Peters

    John,
    Great blog as ever and really chuckled at your reference to Burnham-on-Sea. My wife’s mum and dad and step dad lived there for many years and, like you, we have fond memories of Fortes – as soon as you mentioned an ice cream parlour we knew where you meant! We haven’t been there now for a few years as they have all passed on but good to see that the donkeys are still on the beach. I found this old photo of Forte’s from the 1950’s which I thought you might enjoy.
    All the best and looking forward to your next post.
    Martyn

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  2. Annie

    Your UK trip was a whirlwind! It was just great to meet up with Sheila in Oxford, just too short! The cold, the rain and getting lost on our wanders were all part of the fun….By the way Sheila you look good in red! Like that pic. xx

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    1. sheilahwood

      Thanks, Annie, for your comment about my dress. It felt good wearing it although I immediately spilt a drop of oil onto it eating a Greek salad! Still all good now and all set to wear it to the Greek class party.

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  3. Cathie Pelly

    Kalimera Sheila and John. Doug and I are loving following your blog. We are wondering how you are fairing with all the upheaval going on in Greece. How it is affecting Kavousi? We are following closely in our papers over here in Canada, though it is hard to get a true picture.

    Take care and stay well. Cathie and Doug

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