28 February 2011

Just another normal day

We are often asked to do little things to help clients who are not actually in Corfu, and have difficulty organising things - usually it is letting the electrician in to the house, or organising furniture, or holding keys etc. but this week we had a real little gem. In one of our houses out in the country I had a call from the seller to say that she had been told that there was a sheep in the garden, which presumably had wandered in by mistake (the house is surrounded by fields) and the next day she had a call to say that the sheep had died next to her boiler house, and did we know anyone who could clear away a dead sheep?

No one sprang immediately to mind of course, since it is not an everyday request, but that evening our neighbour Yannis agreed to take care of the problem. The house is along a series of little roads and whilst not terribly hard to find, it does need a little thought, so I drew a map, described it, and told him to call me if he got lost.

Next day Susan, Sarah and I were in the middle of a phone conference with someone in the UK and my phone rang. Of course it was Yannis telling me he couldn't find the house. I had to take the call and Susan said to the guy in England, 'Can we just wait a moment, Di is trying to arrange for someone to move a dead sheep!' Stunned silence for a second, then he said 'Yes of course' as if it was the most normal thing in the world! All in a days work.

25 February 2011

We are always being asked for property near Kassiopi, as it is well know for its beautiful scenery but it is usually impossible to find economically priced options in that area. We were very pleased to have the opportunity of marketing these two new villas, as they offer the Kassiopi location, without the high price tag normally associated with properties in the area.

There will be three houses in total, one of which has already been sold. They are being marketed at excellent prices, on a hill above the village, with views down to the coast and within walking distance of shops and beach, and are being built by a highly reputable, and well known local developer.

The two remaining houses are on plots of land of approximately 700 sq.m. with one house of 75 sq.m. and one of 90 sq.m. There is a basic plan in place for each house, but obviously buyers will have the chance to amend some aspects during the build, in order to suit their own particular lifestyle requirements.

This area offers options, not only for a holiday home or full time residence, but being one of the most sought after areas of Corfu, the properties would also offer good letting potential. There is ample space for a swimming pool on each plot, increasing even more the letting income prospects.

The developer is highly experienced and well known in the area, and the prices include tiles, kitchens, bathrooms, etc. with a choice of fittings being offered to buyers.

24 February 2011

Another lake

Another weekend dog walk and another lake. This time at Poulades, down a little lane which leads to the RC Hotel where model airplane enthusiasts fly their planes. You walk down the lane passing the hotel and runway on your right, and continue straight on till you come to the most beautiful lake, not a long walk, only about fifteen minutes. Surrounded by tall grasses and an enormous oak tree, the water looks quite deep and there are frogs hopping about everywhere.

13 February 2011

Valentine's Day

As an unusually romantic gesture for me, I decided on the spur of the moment to surprise loved-one and come to visit him in England for the Valentine's weekend.
Carefully checking the flight prices (I'm not that romantic or well-off!)

Diana suggested I fly out to the UK via Thessaloniki instead of Athens. Good advice and a route I will definitely use again. Not only is the departure from Corfu at the more civilised time of 9 am instead of 7.30 am, but the Easyjet flight leaves earlier from London and it's a shorter flight time. Better still, the prices on both legs of the journey were considerably cheaper. Unfortunately this doesn't work on the return journey which I will be doing via Athens as usual.

Bearing in mind that this was all very last minute, I quickly arranged a weekend break for the dog, and sent a text to my friend just to check that loved-one wasn't planning the same surprise on me and that we would each end up in the wrong place. However, in my haste, I accidentally sent the text to loved-one, so my surprise plans were scuppered and he was there to meet me at the airport!

12 February 2011

No, it is definitely not like England

I was watching Mary Portas on the BBC programme where she 'exposed and retrained' some London estate agents, having lectured them on honesty, being well informed etc. I then compared their days to ours, particularly to one day this week.

Wonderful sunshine, great day for photos, so off we went to find a piece of land which is newly for sale. No one was available to take us up there, so we followed instructions as in 'up the hill, old house at the top, old man called Alexandros lives there, he will show you'. However, the hill had several turnings and we finally ended up on a dead end grassy track, high above the coast; somewhat lost.

Then an elderly gentleman strolled down the hill and when we asked if he knew Mr. Alexandros. Of course he WAS Mr. Alexandros and purely by chance was walking down the hill. He showed us all over the land, and having declined coffee, wine and the view from his house, we went back down the mountain.

Next, to an old house in Spartila (Sarah's territory so she knew exactly which alleyway to turn down) and then off up to Alimatades to collect a lady with several bits of land for sale. She obviously didnt have a lot of confidence in Sarah's driving (totally unfounded) and insisted we park and walk. So we trekked up and down a few hills and finally reached the first plot - very pretty, somewhat isolated, but she assured us 'it will sell really easily', so we will see.

After that, a brief stop to meet a gentleman who also has land 'over there' should we have a prospective buyer and then off to her next piece - another trek to another pretty plot, again somewhat isolated, with wonderful views, which again we are assured should be easy to sell; until we finally escaped and drove back to the office, completely exhausted.

A very strenuous morning. London agents might have an easier life (and according to Mary Portas in her wisdom, they also have sharp suits and spiky hair!) but they don't get to enjoy long scenic walks in the sunshine on the mountainside as part of their working day.

The next day we stayed in the office!

8 February 2011

Mountain Lake

Our post-Sunday lunch walk this week took us to a favourite spot of mine, up in the mountains just above Spartilas. Just a short way above the village is a road off to the left which leads down into an area locally known as "Gabo" - this is Spartiliotika for "gardens" and where many of the village own plots of land used for grape vines or vegetables, like giant allotments.

The road leading down into "gabo" is new and asphalt, so you can drive right there if you don't feel like walking. We walked a short way down the road and then branched off along a well tread footpath which circuits the whole area. At one point along this footpath when we were beneath the shade of oak and cypruss trees with leaf mould underfoot, my son remarked that it was like walking in a forest in England!

The path eventually winds down to the level of the lake which is surrounded by vineyards and vegetable plots. We debated whether there are fish in the lake - surely not such a daft idea as it doesn't completely dry up in the summer months. The kingfisher we spotted was presumably fishing for fish, not frogs, adding weight to my suggestion.

The sun was shining, the sky was blue and clear and the only sound was the frogs croaking in the lake. It was a perfect winter day, and there wasn't another soul in sight to share our mountain lake experience.

6 February 2011

So Greece is on the Ryanair map, but not Corfu?

I might be a bit late in spotting this news as being on holiday tends to make you do things rather slowly, but when I saw this article on the travel agency website travelmole, I was surprised and not a little upset!

New routes to Thessalonika, Kos and Rhodes - so what happened to us? The onlly positive is that it says 17 new routes to Greece this summer - could they possibly ignore us completely?