Many apologies to all those avid readers who must have been disappointed by the absence of any new postings over the last month or so. As you may recall, we were in the UK for two weeks in November with the sole purpose of having a good time celebrating my 70th birthday. And celebrate we did and more!
Many thanks to everyone who made the Party happen, particularly Jane, Mark and Sarah and to our children who took us out for a surprise birthday meal.
Thanks also to everyone who came to the Party, to those who provided accommodation and meals both in England and Scotland and to everyone else who played a part. You really did make it a birthday to remember and here is the evidence to prove it – me dancing at a ceilidh in Aberdeenshire!
Before any of that happened however, there was a Party here in Crete at Pacchia Ammos where a number of local friends enjoyed a meal at Bobo’s. Many thanks to both Manolis (Bobo) and Maria and their family for making it such a wonderful occasion and for Rich’s brilliant video of the highlight:
Now we are safely back in Crete, enjoying late Autumn weather as all around us the olives are being picked. The fine weather has prompted a couple of cycle rides, which also gave me an excuse to make use of the cameras on my new smartphone so to all of you in the Northern hemisphere who are suffering under leaden skies, snow, wind and/or rain, eat your hearts out as you view the following!
Last week, Sheila and I took the high dirt road from the village towards the sea at Tholos and then dropped down to the beach where we lingered long enough to record the scene.
Then we cycled back up the road which passes the Olive Oil factory where we happened to meet our neighbours, Maria, Nikos and their elder son, Yiorgos who were delivering the fruits of their labours to be transformed into the best extra virgin olive oil in the world (or so we are told!).
It has been a tough time for them. Nikos has a potentially life-threatening blood condition, Maria has a bad back and poor Yiorgos has a business to run. We feel bad that we are no help but frankly we would probably only get in the way and in any event, my days of manual labour are long past.
Then today, the weather was warm and sunny again (after a weekend of rain it must be admitted) so after returning from our Greek lesson this morning, I decided to go for a ride – Sheila deciding to stay at home. Originally, I was going to pedal through the olive groves to the other side of the valley but as Sheila had decided not to come, I thought I would put my new bike through its paces and see if it would get me up to the ancient olive tree.
It might have been better if I had thought to charge the battery first however because although we started off well, it was clear after the second steep bit that the battery was not at its best. The advantage of going up first on an electric bike is that you can always turn round and free wheel down if the battery fails so I persevered and was glad that I did because we made it, even though I had to work somewhat harder than I was expecting!
I had the place to myself. There were a few distant voices of locals picking their olives but otherwise I was able to enjoy one of my favourite spots hereabouts without 4X4 safari tourist jeeps, burly hikers or dogs barking from the back of trucks. It was just wonderful.
The journey home was easy – just holding on to the brake levers and admiring the views and stopping every so often to take a picture. Just so lucky to be alive and living here!