Monthly Archives: March 2018

Spring is sprung

In February, I ordered some new prescription sunglasses, congratulating myself on being so organised in preparing for the spring. However, this winter has been exceptionally bright and they have been in use on a regular basis ever since I got them!

Next week, John and I are going to Heraklion for a shopping clothes spree for me so I hope I will be able to show off some pinky/purple clothes to go with my pinky/purple sunglasses! The down side of the blue skies is that there is a serious shortage of water around and this is a major topic of concern here.

When the many pictures of snow in the UK started to appear on the news, it reminded me of days in our house at Sunnyside in Aberdeenshire when we (well more, John) started the day and continued shovelling snow until dark. I loved all the pictures of the igloos and the snowmen in the UK this year on facebook but I do feel lucky that I am avoiding all of that. I always loved the sun and the heat and so it is a real treat to feel warm most of the time.

I have continued to walk, cycle and now swim in February and March.

A few days ago, I walked to Azorias and enjoyed particularly the lovely wild flowers with my favourite poppies.

I sat looking at this bee for a long time, without managing to get a very good picture but always just as I was about to take a shot, the bee flew to another attractive petal.

I admired again the hard work done by the archaeologists and students from The University of North Carolina in excavating the site.

And then, of course, there were goats around.

There is quite a lot of controversy here about unsupervised goats which wander about and destroy farmers produce and a public meeting was held in the village recently to voice these concerns.

John likes to cycle but he had a major problem recently in that the motor on his bike wasn’t working. There were a number of telephone calls to the UK and finally the problem was identified. The part arrived by post from Italy, costing 50 euros and he was so excited that he didn’t wait to take his coat off before getting stuck into the bubble wrap!

Now all is well and he is back on his bike too.

On Clean Monday, the day when Lent starts, we walked down to see the kites at Tholos but there was a problem with the lack of wind. So instead we walked round the shoreline looking for a seal and a cub which had being seen and photographed there by someone in the village,  a couple of days before.

We and others did not see anything which was probably a good thing as hopefully this meant that the seal and the cub were well protected from humans.

I think that spring really started for me on 3rd March when John and I ate outside at lunchtime in a taverna at Mochlos.

It is so nice to sit outside and enjoy a beer, Greek salad and tzatziki. I never tire of it!!!!

We went to Tertsa on the south coast one day and enjoyed an empty beach and an hour of warm sunshine.

Unfortunately there were no tavernas open but we drove back to Ierapetra to Σχεδιά and I ate my favourite lunch again. We have also enjoyed the usual round of eating out at Panorama, Bobo’s and in the Plateia with friends. On International Women’s Day, a group of us went to Panayiotis’ taverna and had a discussion and argument about Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky and abuse of power! There was no consensus but it certainly was an animated conversation!

The Greek Government brought in a law on January 1st, charging for plastic bags and this seems to be having some effect. An article on 18th February in the newspaper, Ekathimerini, indicated that the policy was showing to be effective with some supermarkets recording a drop of 50% of plastic bags being used. In our local supermarket, Katerina gave me a nice re-usable bag which I proudly use.

There are a number of updates to John’s problem solving issues, outlined in the last post. He took Scottish Power to the ombudsman and the latter supported John’s claims. He is still waiting for the compensation but it does appear that the issue may be resolved. But I suspect it will not deal with the numbers of other people who are suffering from the worst customer service system that I have ever encountered!  John does not have his new Greek driving licence yet but all the paperwork was submitted finally after yet more problems were identified. The good thing is that when I apply, I have a clearer picture of what to do and what not to do! The Canadian visa issue was also resolved and both of us now have our applications accepted, so we are on our way on July 5th. Exciting!

Insurance came to the rescue when I picked up a nail in the car tyre on the way back from Ierapetra. Fortunately I was not aware of it until I got home! Our insurance policy covered the cost of somebody coming out to change the tyre and this process took a remarkably short space of time

The glass on the frame of one of our pictures that we brought here was broken on the journey. We decided we wanted a a change of pictures in the spare room and this one I was keen to display. It is of Scolty near where we lived in Aberdeenshire and was painted by Robin Palmer. It was a gift from our friends in the local Labour Party and has many words of good wishes on the back, which we value. A picture framer was recommended in Agios Nikoloas and he did a great job of restoring it and it now hangs on a wall in the spare room, which guests can enjoy.

It is particularly nice to have pictures with happy memories around the house.

Cultural life has focused around the television but we did see Donizetti’s opera  ‘L’Elixir d’Amour at the cinema in Agios Nikolaus and the film ‘The Phantom Thread’ with Daniel Day Lewis. I wasn’t that taken with the latter but it was nice to share the same view on facebook with a friend, who on the same night, had seen it in Edinburgh. Good for the cinema here to be showing such recent films.

Everybody who is visiting this year can relax now because the spare room and the new bathroom have been tested by our friends, Shona and Rich. They stayed the night after a nice walk to the Roman granary at Tholos,

an excellent meal of steak and Kidney pie, prepared by John and an introduction to our new favourite game ‘Mexican Train’. They enjoyed all and the accommodation appeared to be fine!

John’s garden looks good, despite the lack of rain.

We have a new water filter system in place. it was decided to so this after some discoloration of grout in the bathroom. After putting the filters in place, it is clear they are catching some brown

stuff that it is probably best not to drink!

Some of my winter reading has been about Alexander the Great. It started because I had kept some books of my parents and found that one of them about Theseus was written by the author, Mary Renault . I read that book, enjoyed it and was then curious about the writer and found that she had written a historical trilogy about Alexander the Great. I enjoyed the novels a lot and was fascinated by this man and what he achieved.

So I have now bought a biography of Alexander the Great to find out really how much is really known about him.

And my final note. Scotland beat England at rugby. That was a good result!

Sheila