25 April 2011

Perfect Easter!

Wonderful, spring-like weather made this year's celebrations particularly special. It was not too hot for the crowds milling around in the centre of Corfu town during the pot-throwing on Saturday morning to become claustrophobic, and not too breezy for our candles to blow out either during Good Friday's Epitaph procession or when we all poured out of church at midnight with the "holy light" of the resurrection.

As usual our own celebrations were twin-centred on Corfu Town and the village, picking the best from both. The excitement of Corfu Town takes some beating, but the religious aspect is more moving in the smaller confines of the village.

Pot-throwing in Corfu Town. 11a.m. on Easter Saturday.

If you have never experienced this amazing sight it is well worth braving the traffic and having to park half-an-hour's walk away from the centre of town.

In the photo, note the large blue and red pot in mid-flight!

23 April 2011

My Scented Morning Walk

At this time of year my morning walk with the dog is a delight. Starting off with the jasmine that liberally covers the verandah we then pass the wisteria climbing up the garden wall. Next is our orange tree - at this time of year bearing fruit as well as abundant blossom, and finally when we reach the top of the drive, there is the yellow gorse blossom on either side of the road.

20 April 2011

Thanks Helga!

We all had a nice surprise this morning when we arrived in the office – before setting off on holiday, Helga had left us all with Easter eggs decorating our keyboards.

11 April 2011

Royal Honeymoon in Corfu?

Various ears to the ground have picked up additional local information to add to the rumours that Corfu is one of the favoured destinations for William and Kate's honeymoon at the end of the month. Activity has been noted that might... just might... mean that our island is to host one of the events of the year!

10 April 2011

Opposition grows to proposed Wind Farm on Pantokrator summit

Last week we attended a meeting, organized by opponents of the planned wind farm to be built on the mountain top near Spartilas, and supposedly to spread both east and west from there. It was sparsely attended, but there were some interesting presentations from speakers who were able to pass on facts and figures and not just the rhetoric which various local politicians produced towards the end of the evening.

It appears that there is considerable opposition to the proposal and that the local council has so far stepped in to prevent the continuation of the plans. The evidence presented certainly seemed to question the effectiveness of wind as an alternative source of energy and presented some alternative solutions. The main points of opposition seem to be:

1) that basically there isn't enough, reliable wind to justify the expense of constructing the huge turbines.
2) that the noise level is likely to cause far-reaching disturbance.
3) that the destruction of natural, unspoilt countryside is not justifiable.
4) that there are much better and less environmentally intrusive alternatives.

As I understand it, the scheme - if it does go ahead - will be up to 80% financed by EU funds, but all signs at the moment point to strong local opposition - enough to block the project completely.

Orchids in the British Cemetery

This morning my mother and I visited the British Cemetery in Corfu town. It's a few years since we've been there, and this is the time of the spring when the orchids are in flower - the cemetery is said to have a very fine collection of wild orchids. In fact, we were probably about a week early, as there were only a few varieties in bloom, but they are so lovely, and right underfoot. George, the keeper of the cemetery and the gardens, puts sticks next to the orchids to try to stop visitors from stepping on them.

As usual, the whole garden and cemetery is a peaceful haven in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Corfu town. The gardens are really beautiful, although looking a bit overgrown these days as George struggles to keep the beds tidy all on his own. He's not so young any more and could probably do with a bit of help - we were itching to pull up a few weeds!

9 April 2011

Spring Newsletter

We have just sent out our latest newsletter featuring properties from our portfolio which have summer letting potential.

If you are not on our mailing list you can see the newsletter here.

8 April 2011

Ryanair to fly to Corfu!

Ryanair has just announced a new route from Stansted to Corfu starting in July.

Not perfect for anyone north of Watford, but somehow it seems as if it may be the start of something good for the island and for all of us who like to travel on a budget.

I had overheard a radio interview just last week with the head of the Association of Corfu Travel Agents suggesting that there were talks in progress with low cost airlines to fly to Corfu both from the UK and Germany, but there have been so many such promises that have come to nothing in the past that I didn't allow myself to become excited. Now I am!

It's up to us now to make sure that the venture is supported (even if we secretly don't really like the Ryanair concept). This sort of competition is just what the existing charter airlines didn't want, and must surely have a knock-on effect on prices.

4 April 2011

Back to blogging

Apologies, we seem to have been a bit 'blog less' recently. Part of this is due to the massive damage to our website, which has taken us to weeks to put back to normal (and even now we are finding wrong prices, wrong photos etc. so continuing apologies). Quite amazing really how something like that can happen in this age of technology and no one at all seems capable of actually working out what happened. Still, we live and learn!

In between trying to rebuild the website, and getting ready for spring and summer, we have had some days out looking at properties. However, we do seem to be jinxed on some occasions. One day Sarah and I went with an owner to just take new photos of the view from a house now that the olive trees have been trimmed, as the owner said it is now absolutely stunning. The weather was a bit unsettled some days, so we waited until it was beautifully sunny and off we went towards Kassiopi. The sun lasted almost to San Stefanos where the sky immediately got darker just above us and the minute we arrived at the house down came the torrent. (Corfu style, as if someone up there turned a bucket upside down). Three of us huddled under an umbrella but we were determined to get a photo of the view and indeed we did. It's just that it's a bit hard to see which is grey sea and which is grey sky. As we left the area the sky cleared and the sun came out - naturally.

A few days later we had another north Corfu day planned to look at property and take photos, so we thought to have another try at the view from Kouloura View House. The day was one of those clear glorious spring days until we got to the house, when lo and behold the sky darkened yet again and we thought we were going to suffer the same fate. But whilst we were collecting some lemons (with full permission of the owner of course) fortunately the sky cleared enough to take more photos. However, they still don't reflect how amazing the view really is now and what a difference trimming just a few olive trees has made.

That day we saw some more real gems. A large stone house high above Kassiopi, which when renovated could be one of those real classic Corfu properties, plus a pretty plot of land where three small villas are about to be constructed, making them economic properties in the Kassiopi area where the word 'economic' hasn't really applied for many years. Also a small stone cottage, just across the road from the sea on the outskirts of Kassiopi village,

3 April 2011

Despite the mini-kitchen, this three storey property in the centre of Corfu Town is actually a pretty town house with lots of potential. There are also two other kitchens, since the building is divided into three self-contained apartments. In need of renovation, though structurally sound, it could be turned into a lovely single home or rented out in its present configuration - maybe to students or single professionals. There is no outside space, but because it is located at the end of an alleyway, all the front windows have open views down to the nearby square.