Au revoir to a Year in Crete

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This is the final offering for this Blog.

Our year in Crete has been and gone and as you will know, we have bought a house here and are staying on!

So, we think it is time to start a new Blog and appropriately perhaps, we have decided to call it ‘Staying on in Crete’ and you can find it at: stayingonincrete.wordpress.com

We look forward to seeing you all there!

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John, Sheila and Bonnie

Bon Voyage and a bulletin on Bonnie

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Sheila set off today for her trip to South America. She is going with our friend Jane from London and the itinerary takes in Buenos Aires where Rosie is currently living, southern Argentina and Patagonia, Chile and then Rio followed by a few days on a tropical island off the coast of Brazil to recover!

Crete 61 032She will be away for a month and Bonnie and I shall miss her but it is the trip of a lifetime so of course, we wish her well. As I write she is en route to London to meet up with Jane and they fly out tomorrow (Sunday). The trip will end with a few days back in London staying with Graham.

Yesterday, we were summoned to see the Vet in Ierapetra to hear the results of the biopsy. We were expecting the worst and to an extent, we got it, in that the lump proved to be a tumour (sarcoma). However, whilst this is a very unpleasant type of cancer, because she has it in soft tissue, it is classed as Grade 1 which apparently means that the chances of it spreading are relatively low.

Various treatments are possible – the most drastic being amputation of one of her front legs! We made it clear that any form of surgery was not an option for us on the grounds that she has always been very active and we could not think that she would be happy not being able to run around.

We had discussed the ethical and practical aspects together over recent weeks in some detail and were agreed that we wanted her to enjoy the remaining time she has without suffering any further pain or anxiety. So whilst we listened to what the Vet had to say as regards treatment options, we had already decided that all we would agree to was drug treatment provided that there were no significant side effects.

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The Vet agrees with us, especially given her age and will now investigate a suitable drug regime which hopefully will give her a further six months to two years. Given that she will be thirteen in August, we think this is all we could have realistically have expected in any event.

The strange thing is that she seems so well – energetic with a good appetite and full of beans but that, I suppose, is the nature of the disease.

It has of course been a stressful experience – more so for us than for her, I suspect but we are happy that we have made the right decision, as far as any decision in such circumstances can be said to be correct!

Bonnie has asked me to thank all her many friends for the expressions of support and sympathy and hopes to be able to able to write a post once the new blog is up and running.

It was my name day on Tuesday and the neighbours called round with cakes. So, we had a little party and Andreas and I drank a little raki to celebrate!

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So Sheila is away and having to cope with Spanish but I still have four more Greek lessons to go and apparently a test to take! This came as somewhat of a surprise and I have taken some exception to it – not really being prepared to ‘do tests’ at my age as I really cannot see the point. So, I am busy organising a boycott. That and finalising the arrangements for the building of the Great Wall of China (to support our house), should keep me out of trouble for a week or two!

John

A Greek wedding and the end of a year

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Last Saturday, John and I attended the wedding of Evangelia and Nikos. We met them last year in Xerokambos, a small village on the east coast of Crete, where we were staying for a week’s holiday.  Xerokambos is quiet and has the most beautiful beaches you could ever want.

Evangelia was working in the family taverna next door to the rooms where we were staying.

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We regularly ate in the taverna because Evangelia was charming, fun and great company, spoke good English, the food was simple and tasty and we got 10% off the bill!  Then we met Nikos, her boyfriend, her parents, Eleni and Mikali and her brother, Demitri ( known to us as Jim) and her grandmother.

051The family home is in Siteia, about 25 miles away.  The taverna is open between April and October and is very much a family affair. The whole family takes responsibility for the running of the taverna, fitting it around full -time work, being a student at university, a pupil at school or other activities. 

027We enjoyed a wonderful week there with many highlights, such as going out in Mikali’s boat and eating snails for the first time!!  But most of all we were bowled over by the kindness of the whole family. To show our appreciation, John sent from the UK, a framed photograph of Mikali, taken during our boat trip with him.

During the week, Evangelia and Nikos invited us to their wedding which was then some 18 months away.

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Since coming back to Crete, we have seen the family on a number of occasions, including the celebration of my birthday.  Each time we saw them, we were told we would get an invitation to the wedding, being held on Saturday, December 28th in Siteia at 7.30.  In the end, the beautiful invitation, tied with a ribbon was left for us at the supermarket in Kavousi.

John was supposed to be wearing his kilt and Evangelia was very excited about that but when our stuff arrived from Scotland, the kilt and jacket turned up but none of the accessories so without too much reluctance, he decided that a jacket and trousers would have to do! Evangelia was disappointed because she had told all her friends but did not seem to mind too much.

I looked at my wardrobe and decided it was sadly lacking in clothes for a wedding.  I went to Ierapetra and, with the help of a couple of wonderful sales assistants, bought a skirt and a pair of shoes.  We drove to Siteia (about an hour away from here) and Evangelia’s father met us and drove us to their house.

We were not sure of the arrangements for the evening but Jim (or Demitri as he now likes to be called – he has turned into a young man over the last year), explained what was going to happen which was helpful and reassuring. While Evangelia was changing in her parent’s home, Nikos showed us round the couple’s new apartment which has been added on above Mikali and Eleni’s flat. There was some live music and when we went back downstairs, the bride appeared in a beautiful dress and greeted everybody who was there. After that she was photographed with three small girls who were in white, flouncy dresses and looked very cute.

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Around 8 pm, we were told to walk round to the beautiful church and had some difficulty finding a seat, the church being completely packed with family and friends.  Then the bride and groom arrived with their close families.

Crete 59 050The Greek Orthodox priests carried out the hour long service in a very formal and prescribed manner.  This was in contrast to the congregation who moved around the church freely and talked to their friends. There was no music or song but the photographer had full access to recording the whole ceremony. 

Inevitably, the Greek Orthodox Church ceremony remains something of a mystery because of the language and how different it was to anything I had seen before. But there were some lovely moments such as when the couple were given separate haloes, joined together by ribbon and when the two families walked slowly together round in a circle for two or three times.

We drove in pouring rain to the reception which was held a few kilometres away from Siteia in a large event centre.   Whilst I was prepared for a huge gathering of people, I still gasped when I entered the room.  Apparently, there were 600 people there although it could well have been more.

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We looked desperately for two seats. We found them eventually, sat down hurriedly, introduced ourselves to the person next to us and had a drink and a bit of food.  Fifteen minutes later, our hosts  asked us to join the top table as we were honoured guests from Scotland!  Rather reluctantly, we moved, although we were touched by the hospitality and the generosity shown by our hosts.

Our table was next to a huge stage. First, we enjoyed seeing Evangelia and Nikos as children – the pictures were shown on a screen.  Nice idea though I can’t think that either my children would allow it!!!  Then the bride and groom appeared from different directions each with a microphone in hand.  Crete 59 059They sang a song to each other beautifully, in front of all the guests, accompanied by the band on the stage. That required huge confidence and will be an image I shall remember for a long time.  They cut the cake, made by Eleni and ate a piece which was nice. Evangelia and Nikos both gave short speeches (we were mentioned) and then the music and the dancing began.

We had a wonderful view and I loved ‘people watching’.  There were a range of women’s dresses and shoes to admire and wonder at.

Older men wore shirts and sometimes ties but the younger men were very casually dressed. The two bands were great. Men and women danced and danced.

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To begin with, I wish I had joined in as I felt I could have made a good attempt at the steps but as the dances got more difficult, I was happy to sit firmly in my seat with a New Year’s resolution that I wanted to learn some dances. It was very enjoyable evening, if somewhat overwhelming!  At 2 am, we thanked our hosts, invited them to Kavousi and John drove home.

This was a happy end to our eventful ‘yearincrete’. Next year, we will start a new blog.  We thank everybody who has read it, contributed to it through comments and those who have appeared in it.  Without you, it would be a lonely business producing it and not nearly so much fun.

John, Bonnie and I wish you all a very happy 2014.

2013 – Chewing over the bones

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Well folks, the old year is coming to an end and as the most interesting blogger in this part of Crete apparently (although from what I have read, there isn’t much competition), here I am, out of retirement, to give you the benefit of my take on 2013.

On the positive side, at least I am still here. This time last year I had just suffered he indignity of being locked up in box in a very noisy shed, humped and bumped into what seemed to me like a very large and dingy truck, which after a while, began to shake and rumble and then, as far as I could make out, seemed to sort of whoosh up into the air. I can tell you that it was not a pleasant experience, made worse by the fact that subsequently, I found out that ‘they’ had comfortable seats to sit in for the hours that we were in the air. No one gave me any food or thought about a walk and I was not a happy bunny, I can tell you!

After that, anything had to be better and as you know, I ended up with a pretty comfortable billet at Kato Spiti, lots of folk making a fuss of me and plenty of walks.

The summer was not a great time though. It was realty too hot for me and as you know, I am a dog who likes her comforts, so that says something! Thankfully, things got better as the year wore on but then I discovered one morning that we were on the move again. No one had of course, had thought to consult me. We moved from Sunnyside without a bye or a leave and like Rosie, I was very cheesed off about ‘them’ selling the only home I had ever known, with all those lovely fields and rabbits to chase.

It seems to me that I had hardly got used to Kirkcudbright and made friends with a whole new set of visitors, when we were off again to Greece. ‘They’ make a lot of noise about consultation and discussion but it seems to me that the same rules are not applied to dogs that they use for themselves. Still, I should be used to it by now, I suppose.

So now, we are in Crete and once again, we are off to pastures new – this time to Kavousi and I think I am justified in asking, how long will it be this time? Shall I bother to unpack my few pitiful belongings and get comfortable? 

Crete 60 003On the plus side, ‘they’ have given me a billet right next to the woodburner, so I have got the best seat in the house, and there is a great beach not far away where we seem to go fairly regularly to chase balls or for longer walks along the seashore. Also, the walks in the hills behind the village seem interesting from this dog’s perspective – plenty of new smells to savour, cats to chase and other dogs to ignore!

Crete 59 033I had a good Christmas. Of course I didn’t get taken to the taverna for lunch but I got a walk on the beach. Crete 59 041

Later, I got to skype with Rosie who is in Argentina. That was fun because I miss her but I hear she may be here in early April. In the meantime, I understand that ‘she’ is off there soon. ‘He’ decided not to go apparently because someone has to stay at home with me. Bloody cheek! Me going too, was not of course ever an option. C’est la vie as they say somewhere else.

There is just one cloud on the horizon though, folks. Back in November, Nikos discovered a lump under my armpit and I was hauled off to see a Vet – never my favourite human! The first one said to leave it for a week or two, take some pills and come back and see him. ‘He’ then went off to Scotland (for once I was glad he didn’t ask me to go!) and when he got me back, ’he’ took me to another Vet who decided to cut out the lump and at great expense send it off to Holland for analysis. You can see the mess the Vet made of my leg in this photo!

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I can tell you that it was not much fun lying on this table being held down while the Vet probed and poked me about. Still, ‘they’ made a fuss of me for a while and that was when I got the billet next to the fire. Now, we all wait to see what the results of the test will be. Think good thoughts for me! 

Andy MurraySo 2013, comes to an end and on the whole, for a Scot it has been a good year, particularly with Andy winning at Wimbledon back in the summer. ‘She’ gave ‘him’ a DVD of the Final for Christmas and we all watched it from start to finish the other afternoon. I confess that I did end up dropping off once or twice but there was not a dry eye in the house!

As a mere canine, of course I do not have a vote in the referendum on Scottish Independence next year but there again, nor do they. I can’t help having a minor snigger about seeing them relegated to the same level as a humble hound! However, I hear that they may be buying a flat back in Edinburgh, so let’s hope that it is only so they can vote and does not signal yet another move. Not that I would mind going back to Scotland but now that I am a seasoned European and convinced internationalist, I think I would be voting ‘No’ if I had a vote.

Well, that’s it, folks. All the best for 2014 – now back to that woodburner!

Bonnie

Our new home

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A week or so ago I made a list (one of my favourite activities) of some things I might write about in the blog but life got in the way and nothing materialised.  However, today on this cold rainy morning in Crete, finally I have the time to describe something of last three weeks.  I am told that Bonnie also has a contribution to make soon as she wants to send out greetings to her fans, so don’t worry that there is no mention of her!

At the beginning of December, one of our neighbours, Yiannis, invited us to see how raki is made. John noted how similar the basic process was to the production of whisky with the main difference being of course, that people in villages here can apply for permission at a small cost, to produce raki locally themselves.

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We were invited back for the καζανι party in the evening and didn’t realise at the time what a privilege this was. The raki making party was a very jolly affair near his house and friends and family ate pork chops and drank raki while the process proceeded.  John contributed a bottle of whisky, offering an alternative to raki which was very acceptable to those there and two of the women had pretty good English so we did learn more about the process than if we had been relying completely on our Greek!

The main focus recently, of course,  has been to make our house into a home.  As you know, once we bought it, the house was painted inside and cleaned, and we moved into the house with our small number of possessions from the house in Ferma and amalgamated these with things which had been left by the previous owners. And we then painted the roof which was a good idea as there has been quite a lot of rain recently. That was the start!

Crete 58 001Very quickly,  John was steaming ahead with improvements in our new house to make it our own.  The mantle piece and the false chimney were removed and the wall behind was painted to improve the look.

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The living room has become a lot warmer since this was done, although I do miss losing a surface on which to put ‘things’.  Due to John’s endeavours, we now have roller blinds on the door windows, curtains are back on the windows, most lights work, water doesn’t come in the front door, a computer table was built for two computers, coat hooks have miraculously appeared and many things have been mended. On top of that, John is progressing the bigger job of having a wall built to support the house. We bought a couple of bits of bedroom furniture – chest of drawers and wardrobe (more expense!)

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and a mattress which we badly needed.

Whilst these improvements were happening, We also had to clean the house in  Ferma  and hand in the keys. This was quite hard as we are not very motivated when it comes to cleaning and we were also leaving a place which has really good memories for us. We had been very happy there and it was those feelings which crystallised into the desire to stay in Crete on a long-term basis. So it was with some sadness that we spent quite a few last hours there. Of course by the time we had cleaned it and had taken out our possessions, it no longer felt so special.

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  Here is John locking up for the last time

Crete 58 014and a final look at the lovely view of the hills, Pano Spiti where we had good times with Brigitte and Walter and of course the inevitable electricity line!

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Then, about 40 boxes of ‘stuff’ from the store in Dumfries arrived last Sunday.  The firm, NOMAD, were very efficient.  It didn’t look good for a bit as their van had broken down somewhere in Europe on the way here but it was no problem as they arrived when they said they would.  There were three vans, all different sizes.

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The smallest van was able to get within 20 metres of our house so things were transferred from a bigger van to it.  It all took about half an hour.

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We couldn’t even provide a cup of coffee as they were in a hurry to deliver to other people before getting the overnight ferry back to Athens that night.

I came into my own by unpacking boxes!  It was a good, if tiring experience, finding personal stuff which I hadn’t seen for over a year. Sometimes, it was clear that a few mistakes had been made in our instructions of what should be brought out.  A few things should have stayed behind and others should have come! When boxes were labeled last year, we didn’t think at all about what we might want 15 months later having decided to stay in Crete.  So for example, my Great Aunt Mima’s coffee set was packed in a box labeled ‘china’ and really I don’t have much use for it anywhere except a sentimental attachment and I think it will now have to continue to stay in a box here. But we have some books, photo albums, china, pots and pans, CD player etc. and it is so nice to have them.

Crete 59 012Then Christmas arrived and the house really became a home. Christmas cards had been arriving in large numbers both to our new address in Kavousi and also re-directed from our post box number in Stavrohori. I put them on ribbons and hung them on the walls, which really changed the feel of the house. Then neighbours started bringing us gifts including delicious biscuits from Maria.

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Crete 59 029Our small Christmas tree wasn’t as impressive as Maria’s but we were happy because the previous owners had left behind a big tree together with baubles, none of which we wanted. So we gave them to her, as she has grandchildren who would appreciate it more than us. This is Maria’s spectacular tree.

On Christmas Day, we didn’t have Christmas dinner in the house because we had arranged to go to a local taverna with a few British folk.  It was probably just as well as there was a power cut, just at the time as the turkey would have been put in the oven!  John, Bonnie and I had a short walk down at Tholos beach. The sun was out and it was beautiful.

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There were nine of us at the taverna and we had a fine time.  We ate chicken and pork, sprouts and potatoes, provided by the taverna and ‘essential’ items such as parsnips, cranberry sauce and trifle were provided by ‘the Brits’ themselves.

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The weather had deteriorated in the day and we came back in thunder, lightning and heavy rain. But in our comfortable living room with a nice fire, we soon settled down to watching DVD’s.  We also spoke to Graham, skiing in Sweden with Emily and Rosie, in 40 degrees in Buenos Aires.  Nice.

Crete 59 006On the Friday, Hans and Hanneke came for a meal where we ate beef stifado followed by John’s fantastic Christmas cake. Despite moving house,  not having the correct size of here, possessing no electric whisk and using Greek brandy, the cake turned out to be brilliant, both in appearance and taste.  Delia would be proud of him!

So we feel really at home now.  The move has been tiring but it feels good to be in Kavousi and we are very happy with our house.

Sheila

Loads of money!

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The last week has been hectic and expensive but we finally did move into our new home last Saturday! The weather was fine and we were able to enjoy our first meals here, outside on the terrace.

The previous few days were dominated by dealing with bills of one sort or another and coping with various unexpected problems, all of which we could have done without and most of which seemed to cost (or will cost) loads of money.

Crete 56 024Foremost among the latter, is Bonnie’s lump in her armpit. This was first noticed more than a month ago and following visits to two Vets, she was prescribed with some anti-inflammatories which were expected to help it to disappear of its own accord. To start with they seemed to be working but as soon as she finished the last pill, it returned to its original size. So, it was back to the Vet and following some tests, it is now proposed to remove the lump on Thursday afternoon, when it will be sent for a biopsy, to see what the problem is. Cancer has however been more or less ruled out, which of course is very good news and she seems to be in no discomfort (as evidenced by her still running after anything that moves – including the village cats) but the cash till bell is ringing! More to come, no doubt, on this story.

Crete 56 022Then the car started to make some very strange sounds from somewhere in the front. I thought it was the suspension and so it proved and we effectively now have a new front suspension and our wallets are considerably lighter but on the upside, the ride is considerably smoother!

Then, it was decided that we needed some new furniture for our bedroom – that which was here previously, having been disposed of whilst I was in Scotland! This un-budgeted expense proved to be somewhat more expensive than even I had foreseen but eventually we found a shop in Ierapetra which had something along the lines we wanted and later today, a wardrobe, mattress and a chest of drawers should arrive, followed by a pair of bedside tables on Saturday.

In the meantime, the car insurance had to be paid and Kostas, the plumber, turned up with his bill. Then we were advised to paint our roof with some frightfully expensive compound before the winter rains begin. So, yesterday, I went into Ierapetra and parted with another 500 euros for the necessary materials and the afternoon, found us both on the roof brushing on the white water resistant paint with brooms.

Crete 55 017I don’t think we would have managed to finish it but halfway through, Andreas, one of our neighbours, turned up and spent the next hour or two helping us finish getting the first coat on. Tomorrow, we have to repeat the process but it was just as well that it was done because today it has been bucketing down and so far we have had no water in the house – well none from the roof as far as I can tell, although some did come in under the front door.

After the painting was finished, we were joined by Andreas’ wife, Mina and other neighbours, Maria and Nikos and an impromptu party was soon underway! This is not the first since we arrived as Saturday was Andreas’ name day (November 30 being St Andrew’s Day) and we were invited round for raki and mezedes. There were only family there so our dubious Greek language skills, were put to a severe test but as the raki flowed and food kept arriving, somehow, everything became easier!

Then, this morning, while Sheila was in Ierapetra playing tennis, an engineer arrived to advise on what is required to repair the retaining wall to one side of the house. This is needed urgently because parts of the terrace are not really supported by anything much at present and the whole lot could descend into the ravine below should the worst occur!

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Advice, some informed and some not, has been in substantial supply but we have known that this would have to be done so at least it is in the budget – well sort of! We now await a response from Yiannis, the Engineer, when he has obtained quotations from several contractors. When he left, I could see him virtually rubbing his hands with glee, so it is clearly not going to be good news!

On the positive side, we have dealt with any number of issues this week, have more than survived and have had a lot of fun too.

Crete 54 003We have disposed of an old television and a Christmas tree (complete with a box of decorations) to our Greek neighbours and in return they have brought us fruit, cakes, vegetables and more raki! Sheila was also given a box of wonderful tomatoes by Margarita her tennis partner. Crete 54 002

We now have a phone, an internet connection and a TV package, the latter having been installed in time for me to see the second half of Arsenal playing Cardiff at the weekend – live!

It has been a good week.

Now, we have to find time to get back over to Ferma to collect the rest of our stuff and to clean the place thoroughly and then hand back the keys. For those who have seen Kato Spiti, you will know just how beautiful it is, so it will be hard to leave but we have a new life in Kavousi which is different and so far at least, just what we were looking for when we decided to choose a Greek village for our new home. Oh, and there is still the small matter of the second coat on the roof but perhaps Andreas will take pity on us and help out again!

Our new phone number is: (0030) 2842094826 and our new address is:

John Burt/ Sheila Wood
GR 72200
Kavousi,
Crete,
Greece

Apparently, the postman will find us once the letters start arriving. We just need to put our names on the little post box outside our front gate! I can only hope this works because I ordered some sandals some weeks ago over the internet, which have still not arrived at the Post Office at Makrygialos. Having enquired as to their whereabouts, I am informed by the supplier that they were dispatched from China but apparently could not be delivered to our address in Greece and are now in Hungary, having already been to Bulgaria as well as Rumania!

However, please note that our old address at Stavrochori will remain active until at least the end of the year.

John

A bonnie bedroom, a good blether and a birthday

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Immediately after John wrote the last post, he flew to London leaving me a bit envious.  He did have some work to do.  In particular, he had to make sure the canal boat was ready for winter and he had to agree the final list of possessions being sent to us from the store in Dumfries.  But he was also spending time with some of the younger members of our family in London and seeing good friends.  In comparison I was designated Clerk of the Works at the new house in Kavousi. This is not a position I have ever wished to have anywhere in the world but I could not avoid it!  I made a list of things to do!

Crete 53 008John and I wanted the house to be decorated and fully operational before we started to live in it. Friends of Hans and Hanneke, Manu and Heidi painted the inside of the house and they were fantastic.  They were reliable, their work was of high quality and they worked hard. At our request, they painted the house in white (well daisy white) to give more light.

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They also improved a bedroom beyond recognition by replacing the ceiling and exposing the old beams, although this was not in the original specification.

This increased the time the work took but there were no complaints from them even though they had time restraints because they are off to Thailand next week for two months. They took a great pride in doing the work well.  Kostas, the plumber, came and mended the sink in the bathroom and also the chimney for the wood burning stove.  He, too, was great. So my role was one of support to them and confined to moving furniture around, making coffee, organising the times when people came and went and paying people!

I did make a few decisions though!  I used the opportunity of John being away to throw out furniture that he might have argued, should stay!  It was all put outside and while I was arranging to have somebody come and take it away, the neighbours emerged and it was all gone.  So it has been recycled around Kavousi which is excellent! I also managed to get a copy of our house contract from the Notary so that we can now proceed to get telephone, TV and internet organised.

Crete 53 012I spent a lot of time, getting to know my neighbours.  Well to be exact, they came over and got to know me.  Now this is much more my thing.  For years I worked in Community Centres and it was always a mixture of building responsibilities and getting to know people.  The latter is much more fun!   The neighbours brought coffee and gifts such as vegetables, fruit, walnuts, oil, cakes, raki and even a nice bowl for the fruit.  Such kindness.  Heidi and Manu’s Greek is better than mine so conversation was added to their duties!

They were brilliant at that too. I was invited for coffee at my neighbours’ houses and there I spoke a little, listened more and understood a bit!!!!  The Greek classes have continued and are all the more important now. I talked to anybody I met in the street and I found that Bonnie was really helpful as a topic of conversation.  Once I had told people she didn’t bite or bark, the Greek neighbours liked to stroke her. One of them, though, told me I would need to get a Greek dog which barked.  I think not! There are a lot of cats in Kavousi and there is a definite strain on the lead when Bonnie sees one. However most of the time she sits comfortably in her new house.

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After two or three days of socialising I was extremely tired and yearned to move into the house so that I could find time to be a little bit more prepared for conversations with Maria and Nikos, Andreas and Mina and with Yiannis, to name but a few. I was driving backwards and forwards from Ferma to Kavousi every day and this also increased my desire to move into the house!  I have always liked just having one house!!!  I was sorry John was missing this experience, even though it was pretty exhausting.  It confirmed my view that it was the right decision for me to live in a village.

When John was away, there was only really one problematic issue. There was a concern raised that the new bedroom roof was not strong enough in the event of an earthquake.  John had spent a lot of time arranging earthquake insurance for our house so I was aware that this was something of concern if you live in Crete. However, It does seem now that everyone agrees that the new ceiling is fine.  But it did cause me some anxieties for a few days.

My tennis friend, Margarita, came over to see the house and she really liked it.  It was good to get such positive feedback from her and it felt very relaxing and normal just to sit and chat to her in my new home.  She talked to a couple of neighbours so I learnt a little more about them from her.

Hans, Hanneke and I cleaned the house after the painting was finished and re-arranged the furniture. How lucky I am to have such great friends.

John came back on Tuesday (I was very pleased to see him!) and on Wednesday, he helped with more cleaning and we both agree that the house looks great and how happy we are with it. It is as light as it can be, everything seems to work, the bedroom has a higher roof, there is less clutter in relation to the furniture and it is clean. The other rooms are nice too and all the better for some paint.

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The neighbours have been wonderful and this little house, which I liked from the first time I saw it, feels much more like ours.  The views are stunning.  Bonnie, John and I went down to the local beach this afternoon and found the small taverna open with many people inside.  All good!

Crete 53 038Can you spot Bonnie?

Last Thursday, it was John’s birthday and a dozen of us celebrated this in our new house.

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We ate and drank, we admired the house and a couple of the neighbours popped in to see us too.

There was lots to celebrate. The temperature here is in the low 20’s centigrade so we sat outside and amongst other things, ate a lovely birthday cake.

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Crete 53 031Now prizes for how old he is?

John and I had a couple of days of rest (John caught a cold in the UK and has had a bad cough) and we now have more lists!  Hopefully, we will move in the next week.

There may be a gap when you don’t hear from us as the internet may not be in place immediately but we have been assured (?) that it will not be for too long. We shall see!

In the meantime we are off to buy replacements for the furniture I threw out.  More on that next time.

Sheila