30 August 2009

Prayers for rain - why didn't anyone tell me?

I have to confess, I do not always get time to check on the blogs that the others are writing. So, unfortunately I missed the 'prayers for rain', and definitely Susan got it wrong - not only was it in the wrong place to help the people suffering with the fires on the mainland, it centred itself on our house at Halikouna, terrified the current clients with a thunder clap that shook the house, flooded the place, even through closed windows and shutters, and blew up the wireless internet, two satellite boxes, plus one complete phase of electricity. However, apropos of the 'wasps' blog, it did not kill the wasps - so what use was all that rain?

28 August 2009

Rural Guerillas - or Off to Fight the Wasps

There is no getting around the fact that wasps are a problem in the summer months and this year we seem to have been particularly bothered with a nest fairly close to the house. Eventually too many missed outdoor meals drove us to desperate measures and husband and one son set off to deal with the situation. It seems to have worked - except that I think there is another nest somewhere - and we can't find it!

26 August 2009

Thank you

Thank you to all the people who phoned to congratulate me on the effectiveness of my "Prayer for Rain" (see earlier blog) which resulted in storms and heavy rainfall - the first over my house for nearly three months. Unfortunately, I cannot really accept the credit, since I obviously should have been more specific as to the area in which rain was required. Poor old Athens had to rely on the fire fighters - 'planes, helicopters etc. to put out the forest fires.

23 August 2009

Silly Season Indeed

I'm not even going to begin to explain why I have not been blogging for a while. The last couple of weeks have included swine flu, fleas, green hair and an emergency Caesarean birth!

But this pales into insignificance compared with the catastrophic forest fires raging to the north east of Athens. Greek television is showing very little else - so many villages and residential areas surrounded by fires and fanned by force 8 winds. We have lived through a couple of close shaves ourselves - to the extent of filling the car with essential documents, photographs (and the dog!) and being on standby to abandon the house, so I really do feel for the poor people fighting to protect their property and their lives.

Let's pray for rain.

22 August 2009

It might be August, but we still have the sunsets!


August is definitely the silly season, too many cars going either too fast or too slow, or stopping in the middle of the road for no apparent reason, busy beaches, crowded supermarkets, packed restaurants and so on.

It is the time of the year which we always used to think was the best time to go back to England and escape for two weeks, with the excuse of buying for the shop, but now we are so busy with the property side of the business, it is hard to justify.

Most of the time during August seems to be spent in traffic jams, so it makes a very pleasant change to go to one of the properties like Seafront Villa on the south west coast and take time to watch the sunset. Just proves that even at the busiest time of year, tranquillity can be found.

21 August 2009

Summer special

On my summer holiday to England at the moment, we visited a typical English eating establishment - Pizza Express! With a great choice of food for all the various ages and tastes around the table, this was a popular destination, and not too expensive.

My favourite part of the meal was the pudding and it is one I am going to try to copy when I get back to Corfu. 'Cafe Reale' is a cup of cappuccino served with a few small figs, cooked in a winey syrup with cinnamon and then served with a dollop of marscapone. I am always at a loss to know what to do with all the figs which will soon be coming my way, so this could be the answer and the end to fig jam production in my house.

12 August 2009

Silly Season at Sea

A serious warning to swimmers - last week there was a nasty accident involving a motor boat and a swimmer. The swimmer was out in very deep water, 200-300 metres away from the shore, the sea was choppy, and the driver of the boat didn't spot the swimmer. At the end of a lovely day out exploring the coastline, the resulting accident has left the family who had hired the boat traumatised, and the poor swimmer in hospital with serious injuries and lacerations to his arms.

If you do swim or snorkel in the sea in deep water, then make yourself as visible as possible. A float or a flag will alert boats to your presence and help to avoid another accident like this one. With so many boats on the water at this time of year, you can't be too careful.

7 August 2009

August Full Moon

The August full moon is very special in Greece, rising pinkly above the horizon during almost daylight. As it climbs in the sky the light it brings is particularly bright and radiant. Throughout Greece the occasion is celebrated in a number of ways. One of the national radio stations yesterday had a programme dedicated to music and songs about the moon and all the major archaeological sites remain open to the public throughout the night of the August full moon instead of closing as usual at sunset. Imagine the combination of the moon and the Acropolis - and how wonderful that the vast paper-bound bureaucracy that is the Greek state can organize such a simple pleasure for its citizens.

In Corfu, the east coast comes into its own as a magical natural theatre as the moon rises above the hills of Albania. The view from a number of beaches along the coast is unforgettable, and the higher up into the mountains one travels the better the first sight becomes.

If you missed last night, it will be almost as good tonight!

4 August 2009

The Surprise of the Week

One of the interesting things about our job is setting out in the morning and never being quite certain what is going to happen as the day progresses. We make appointments to view houses and land for sale, sometimes expecting great things and being disappointed, sometimes finding absolute bargains, sometimes being taken to hitherto unknown (to us) areas, and marvelling at the Tardis-like qualities of our island.

Last week Sarah and I set out on an early evening expedition to the west of the island with a young lady who wanted to show us twelve(!) plots of land she has for sale. We just managed to finish in time to head off slightly inland to look at three newly built houses with the owner and his wife proudly showing their completed project. During our conversation in transpired that the couple own a very large area of land close to their houses and have begun to create a sort of animal park/country estate. On being told of miniature ponies within a short drive we were tempted to go and have a look.

Well... we were speechless. By the time we left it was practically dark and we had seen not only the promised mini ponies (and a new born baby one), but racoons, humped-back buffalo, deer, Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs, porcupines, terrapins (huge), llama, and the major surprise for me anyway - kangaroos!

The plan is for a proper public opening some time next year, when there will also be snack-bar facilities on site. Something really new for Corfu.

2 August 2009

The delights of local shopping

Even though our other shop and office was only across San Rocco Square, just a short walk away, I had no idea of the number of shops in close proximity to the new premises.

Virtually the whole of Corfu businesses are represented here - the supermarket of course, but also, two family butchers, a specialist cheese shop, a wine shop, a chemist specialising in natural products, shoe shops, a slipper shop, babywear shop, coffee supplier, juice bar, hairdresser, Chinese shops (as always!), several sewing ladies, two bookshops/stationers, household goods, a 'valet' parking car park and, unbelievably, an umbrella repair shop!

Next door to us is one of those shops you never knew you needed; whilst we were moving in we kept popping in and out for all the things we couldn't locate as we unpacked bags and boxes, tape measure, plastic cups, scissors, screwdriver, needle and cotton, knife, batteries, you name it, they have it.

Added to that of course, when the new market premises are finished, we will have a wonderful fresh fruit, vegetable and fish market right on our doorstep. What more could anyone ask? Complete shopping within a two minute walk!