22 March 2012

Morning Mist

Saw this strange strip of heavy cloud hanging over the valley yesterday morning and then watched as it gradually diffused and turned into morning mist.

19 March 2012

Time to cut the grass

Spring seems to have sprung all of a sudden. We've gone from frosty mornings to full blown spring in about a week and Corfu is in bloom. This is a great time to come here for a few days - now a relatively inexpensive option thanks to the Ryanair and, shortly, the Easyjet flights.

It's also time to start cutting the grass! I love to see the carpet of daisies but I'm sure that loved-one will have his lawn mower out the moment he comes home to Corfu.

16 March 2012

Now we know it really is Spring

You can always tell when Spring really has arrived and it's not just the odd sunny day, because out come the strawberry sellers. Yesterday I bought the first ones - 5 euros for three punnets and the seller was determined I should buy six punnets which he would give me for 9 euros! I did finally manage to convince him that I definitely am not a jam maker and therefore absolutely did not need six punnets. This year also, forget small strawberries - these are monsters and each punnet only has about six strawberries in it, quite unbelievable.

The second sign of Spring is that we actually look forward to going out to look at plots of land and old houses up in the mountains. Yesterday we went up the mountain above Nissaki with one of our favourite civil engineers who knows everywhere and everyone, and can identify the owner of virtually every olive tree in the area. He took us high up to Katavolos to an old stone house (shortly to be on our website) with stunning sea views from every floor, just crying out for renovation to make either a family home or even a small B & B type business. Flowers everywhere, fresh green grass and views down to the sea which really did sparkle. Definitely one of those days when we totally appreciate living here and having the job we have.

13 March 2012

The potato revolution is spreading

Even on financial channel Bloomberg the 'potato revolution' gets a mention and is being described as 'The farmers fight back', plus a note that the revolution is spreading to Crete where the farmers are getting together to sell olive oil at well below supermarket prices. I must say that the other day I saw artichokes on the potato/orange lorry and presumably this could spread to all farm produce.

Interesting really - in the UK when buy direct from farms or at farmers markets, you usually pay more, not less - it's the price you pay for knowing the pedigree of your fruit and vegetables!

7 March 2012

Strange reaction from the Communist party in Greece

The following is a quote from The Greek Reporter, but what puzzles me is that the main communist parties in Greece have publicly come out against the farmers' initiative. I would have thought they would have been in favour of anything that helps the "people" manage in these hard times, but apparently this smacks too much of capitalistic enterprise!

"Greek farmers have taken to selling their produce directly to consumers in a move to push down prices and cut out retailers they accuse of profiteering. In a climate of harsh austerity, soaring unemployment and diminishing income, thousands of Greeks are flocking to makeshift markets where farmers are reportedly selling their produce at less than half of supermarket prices. This action, mainly involving the sale of potatoes, was started by activists in the town of Katerini at the foot of Mount Olympus, but is quickly spreading across Greece. According to the volunteers in Katerini, Sunday saw the sale of 75 tons of potatoes to over 1000 consumers."

6 March 2012

German visitors will be warmly welcomed as always

Today there is an article in the Greek newspaper Kathemerini which says that bookings to Greece from Germany have dropped, because many Germans feel that they may not be welcome in Greece.

'Germany's biggest tour operators called on its nation's holidaymakers to ignore anti-German sentiment in Athens and take trips to Greece's islands, after booking numbers plunged at the start of the year.'

If the German people do not think that they will be welcome in Greece this summer, they are very mistaken. It seems that some of them think we blame them for the actions of their government (some of which have been distinctly unfriendly) but we no more blame the German people for the attitude of their government than they should blame the Greek people in general for the criminal actions of the Greek government over the past years.

In Corfu we have always welcomed German guests, as well as guests of any nationality, and we will continue to do so, probably more so because we do understand that that perhaps some of them might be slightly worried about their welcome - and we ppreciate that by coming to us for their holidays they are helping us in our present economic situation.

What of course would also help would be if our wonderful Greek government would help the tourist industry for a change, with subsidies/tax concessions so accommodation owners can improve their properties and the island's facilities can be constantly improved to make us competitive with other destinations. A few changes to the requirements for tourist licences would also help and, even more so, would be subsidies to encourage foreigners to buy homes here and investors to embark on investment projects here. Is that too much to ask?