We have been back from Chloe’s wedding for nearly a month and after a visit from Bob and Frances from NE Scotland, a tropical downpour which partly flooded the house and helping Peter Trescher from British Columbia who is walking the length of Crete, to his start point, my thoughts turned to my upcoming 70th birthday later this month.
There are two ‘events’ planned, a meal at Bobo’s here in Crete for our friends locally and a party in London for family and friends from the south of England. Then we go to Scotland to see friends in SE Scotland (briefly) and a visit to Aberdeenshire for a ceilidh and catch up there.
My present to myself has been an electric bike! It arrived from the UK in a large package last week
and after charging the battery for about eight hours, we set of on Friday for our first trip down to Tholos Beach for a swim. Those who have been here will know that this is just 3 km from Kavousi and it is all down hill so we didn’t learn much from the outward journey. After our swim – yes the water is still warm – it was time to put it through its paces on the uphill stretch which for me has always been a bit of a struggle.
Not to beat about the bush, it is brilliant. There are three settings and you do have to pedal but it senses when you need help and the motor cuts in accordingly and you just seem to sail up the hills! I even managed to get up the steep bit which has always defeated me in the past and also the lane leading up to the house from where we park the car, which I even find difficult walking up!
I have been impressed with my new toy and I think it is going to change my life. Just two issues – it is hard to control the bike at low speeds on the dirt roads and Sheila is finding it difficult to keep up!
So impressed were we with the delivery service from the UK that we decided to re-use the packaging to send back Rosie’s snowboards plus boots etc., which we have been storing here in our shed. Collection is scheduled for tomorrow so let’s hope its works as well for the return leg.
Those with a close eye for detail will note that I have inherited my mother’s approach to wrapping a parcel – if there is a bare patch cover it with tape just in case, especially the corners!
Sheila has already given me two presents in advance. The big one is a ‘phablet’, something which I had never heard of until I started looking to see if it is possible to buy a tablet from which you can also make phone calls. It is basically a large Smartphone but with features usually found in a tablet (or the other way round). I am still getting to grips with the technology, much of which is beyond me because I don’t understand the terminology but at the weekend, I went out trying out the cameras (yes there are two – one for selfies!) and these are some of the photos which I took.
I have to confess that the cover picture of the cloud scene, was taken mistakenly!
I also took a picture of the wood store because on Friday, Giorgos came with a load of new wood for the stove. We are now well provided for winter weather and I like to see the store full. On the right of the photo, you can spot my other ‘advance’ present from Sheila – a genuine Cretan pithoi jar. I have always wanted one and am just waiting to get the necessary potting compost before transplanting a geranium to decorate the area just outside front gate.
One further activity which has been dominating our spare time has been the necessary planning for our ‘big’ trip in the New Year to China, Vietnam and Cambodia. We leave in mid- January and basically have three weeks in China and then join an organised tour which takes in most of the sites of SE Asia. In China we will stay with Gillie and Alan in Shanghai and then Emily (Graham’s partner) will join us in Hangzhou from where we will go to Hong Kong for the Chinese New Year on February 8. We fly back from Bangkok on March 1. It is budget breaking but a once in a lifetime trip, in part to celebrate me getting to the big one – well not there yet but here’s hoping!
I need to mention briefly that we have started a new course of Greek lessons. The EU has pulled the funding on the ‘free’ classes so we are now paying but the upside is that we have a smaller group and it is much more focused on what we want to do – conversation and listening and the benefits are already beginning to show (I think).
On a lighter note, we have been intrigued over the last month or so to see enormous numbers of new signs sprouting up along every road hereabouts. Apparently the EU in its wisdom, has seen fit to fund new signage for churches in our area of Crete as part of the ‘leader’ programme. Now, those of you who are familiar with Greece and Crete in particular, will know there are literally thousands of churches – we have no less than sixteen in and around our village. So there are a lot of new signs and the pity is that they are apparently for the benefit of tourists and yet some are locked. Anyway, Our favourite is the ‘Church of the Holy Forerunner (Beheading)’!
And finally, we found these cats making themselves comfortable on Sheila’s lounger this morning.
We don’t usually encourage our feline friends to share our terrace but neither of us had the heart to move these two before we left for our Greek lesson!