31 August 2010

Coffee time again

Following up the "Where to Stop for Coffee in the middle of a Working Day" blog, here is entry number 2 - Freddo in Acharavi. Very convenient, roadside setting, nice chairs and atmosphere and tempting ice-creamy menu. Freddo Cappuccino was average, though, and scored 6 out of 10. The glass of white wine and nuts looked much more inviting, but we were still only half-way through our morning of showing village houses.

29 August 2010


We've been really busy throughout the past month. Normally the heat discourages house hunters and we have become accustomed to a slightly slower pace of life in August. Not this year - we have barely had a chance to set foot in the office with the result that our blogging has slowed to a snail's pace and we are getting a bit behind with our paperwork. Never mind! We will definitely not complain about too many clients, and isn't it interesting, that despite everything the market is still buoyant?

15 August 2010

Shame we don't have village fetes in Corfu!

The other day someone called me to say that she had hung some tomatoes on the gate and I should come and get them as they were too heavy for her to lift over the top. When I got there, there were only two, but you can see what size they are. At the same time someone else brought us a pumpkin (one of the advantages of living in a Corfiot village is a constant supply of vegetables). I began to remember some of the village fetes and country shows we used to go to in England and thought that these two would definitely be in the running for a prize. After that I began to think that I needed a recipe book with 'a hundred ways to cook a pumpkin', but of course, it being summer, I didn't do anything at all with it and it is currently acting as a weight to keep the swimming pool cover from blowing away.

Testing, testing...

This last week has been about as hot as it has ever been in Corfu this summer, and Sarah and I took ourselves down into Kassiopi for a well-earned rest after a session of villa-viewings last Friday. We have been saying for a while that we must make a list of coffee-shops that serve really good coffee and it seemed as good a time as any to make a start.

There are so many articles and blogs about the price increases this summer, but certainly for coffee, ice-creams and juices, etc. we have not come across any noticeable differences from last summer. Far more important, to our minds, is to know that whatever you spend you actually enjoy the coffee. How many times have we commented "not hot enough", "way too strong", "weak and watery", "not cold enough", and ended up wishing we had tried somewhere else. Often it is a case of deciding whether to go for the good coffee or the scenic surroundings, so it was especially nice to be able to combine both on Friday at Angevine - right on the harbour in Kassiopi, and on the first floor terrace for an even better view. The Freddo Cappuccino scored 9 out of 10 as well, so a good choice all round.

9 August 2010

Knobbly but tasty!

I haven't been blogging for a while, I seem to spend most of my free time trying to keep my parents' garden alive. They planted a lovely garden here, lots of flowering shrubs, rose bushes and a vegetable patch. Unfortunately, they leave every year in July and August when the weather becomes too hot for them and their favourite beach is busy. This leaves yours truly to struggle with the watering, as their garden has not really been designed with drought in mind.

My father has a vegetable patch which is his pride and joy, and he plants "different" vegetables from the norm. We have been enjoying some delicious potatoes called Pink Fir Apple, a knobbly shape with a very tasty flavour. The tomatoes have been coming thick and fast too, and as there were far too many to eat in salads, I have been drying and bottling tomatoes so that they too can taste the fruits of his labour on their return. A few plants have been very disappointing - the tomatoes just weren't ripening. I mentioned this on the phone to my father, only to be told that they are another of his "different" vegetables, yellow tomatoes of course! Not just yellow tomatoes, but yellow cucumbers, as this photo shows.

1 August 2010

Is it just Greece?

A client called me the other day to ask if it was still OK to come to Corfu in a couple of weeks. I couldn't think what she was talking about so asked her what she meant. She said 'After that dreadful article in the Guardian' which had the usual picture of Athens police in full riot gear, together with lots of stories of depleted medical supplies and empty supermarkets due to the tanker drivers strike.

I agree, the strikes are doing yet more damage to the infrastructure of Greece - and particularly its tourist industry - and despite having every sympathy for the strikers it really does seem that some parts of the Greek population have virtually a death wish as far as outside investment and tourism is concerned, but is Greece the only country to have strikes?

Don't the words 'British Airways, British Rail, London Tube, G20 demonstrations' remind people that these things happen everywhere. Italy, France and Spain also seem to have their troubles, not just Greece. Final comment - I put on Sky News just now and heard the newsreader mention tanker driver strikes and thought he was talking about Greece. He wasn't - he was talking about a potential UK tanker driver's strike - perhaps we should tell everyone not to go anywhere near the UK either.

Book recommendation

Billed as a sort of thinking man's Shirley Valentine, Sofka Zinovieff's lovely book entitled "Eurydice Street" is far more than a story of a marriage into Greece. Basically it is just that - stories of and insights into her daily life in Athens as a "foreign" wife and mother, but it also brings a newcomer's clarity of perception to many familiar Greek expressions and ways of doing things. Probably all the more enjoyable to those of us who have "been there - done that", but nonetheless I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in Greece.

It made me turn to an old favourite - read for the first time when I was in the throes of being a very new Greek wife myself, rather a long time ago. "Earth and Water" by Sheelagh Kanelli - published in 1965 - also tells of a foreign marriage, this time set in the 1950s. There are several similarities between the two books - the foreign wives in each story have two daughters, both interested enough by the cultural differences they experience to put pen to paper. Comparing the two books makes a fascinating cultural and sociological study of the changes within Greece in the 50 years that divide the two women's experiences.