1693-1732: Into the Rental House and Into Lockdown 2

24th October – 2nd December 2020

A New Home!

Packing up from the campsite was made so much easier as Carole had let us leave some stuff in the spare room.  Just as well as I really don’t think I would have got it all back into the car!  And once we found the shed key, we managed to shove all the camping stuff in there.  Some of the crockery from the house is also there, as friends June and Karl gave us their old (as in unwanted) crockery set.  Having unloaded we wandered up the road to one of our favourite restaurants …. all of 200m away  Lovely that Eleanora recognised us from last year … think CO2 are more memorable than us.

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Leftheris Villa.

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View from the upstairs deck.  You can see across the bay to Akrotiri and the sea beyond.

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Looking the other way  no, weve not used the pool brr!  The farmer of this house has a raki still: using the grape must.

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I was doing daily exercise here until it got too cold.

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Kitchen, diner and lounge all in one … Carole has since upgraded the TV and so now we are binge watching The Crown on Netflix and rugby on Amazon.

There is no central heating, but Carole has left us enough heaters to have 2 per room!  Despite this, and having our bedroom window open, we have had nasty black mould in the bedroom.  The calor gas fire and damp air and clothes (we had a lot of rain) are the culprits, despite lots of ventilation.  Bleach, a permanent daytime heater and dehumidifier seem to be keeping it at bay.  

 

A Very Different Lockdown

Less than 2 weeks after moving in, the whole of Greece went into lockdown.  Last lockdown we were on a sunny Turkish campsite with old and new friends … best lockdown experience of anyone I know.  This time we are in a house and entering winter … this is what was planned for when electing to rent in our Happy Place.  The weekly announcement has declared that the lockdown will continue unto 14th December.  

There is a 9.00 p.m. curfew and you can only leave the house for 1 of 6 reasons.  You have to carry your passport and a dated & timed form (or text a code if you have a Greek sim) at all times.  In reality, it is only preventing us from traveling too far to explore / walk and restaurants and cafes can only offer a takeaway service.  We’ve been good patron’s of Eleanora’s takeaways!  

One of the attractions of returning here was knowing people.  James and I are very used to just each other’s company, but always good to have fun with other people.  I managed a bus trip out with Ann and others along the west coast just before the lockdown.  Fortunately some friends live really close by and we have a lovely part time neighbour … so we have been able to do a limited amount of socialising.  Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year’s Eve are all sorted … good to spend it with friends, when you can’t be with family.  I’ve read of a number of people with school age children who are deciding not to spend Christmas with the grandparents … so we are fortunate not to spend these festivities alone.

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Bus trip looking out over the far west coast.

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Bus trip:  Gorge that could be walked until rock falls a couple of years ago.

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We’ve been playing some games …  the travel Monopoly set proved difficult trying to recognise the names in the Greek alphabet, so I hand wrote, Park Lane, Old Kent Road etc.  Much more familiar.

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No shortages here.

High Maintenance Man!

We’ve had to drive into a very quiet Chania a number of times …. mostly for the hearing aid shop.  The lovely Vera had replaced the connecting wires between batteries and aid so they now worked …. but not much use when one keeps falling out.  She took a new mould and then we had to return to collect the replacement … so far this one stays in!  We are not convinced that the hearing aids will remain trouble free, but for the moment, they are working and J can hear / I don’t have to shout!!!

We have also had a saga with the DVLA to renew J’s C1 (3.5-7.5 ton) driving license.  As he is over 70, he has to have an eye sight test and medical.  On arriving in Crete we had posted the new form and photo’s back to the DVLA.  They then wrote asking for permission to contact his doctor and advising that he would need another eye test … different standard for C1.  They completely ignored J’s letter asking if he could take the test in Crete and sent him through the contact details to make an appointment with Specsavers.  Specsavers were able to email a blank form and we found an optometrist in Chania with the appropriate equipment.  Slightly stressful weekend wondering if J had passed the test. If he failed, we would be facing the decision to downsize the motorhome or I do all the driving.   He did pass … 100% with his glasses on.  A return visit to collect the DVLA form and test results … these were then scanned and emailed to our UK Admin Team (Mum and Dad) who printed and posted it immediately.  Just to cover ourselves, we have also posted the original copies.  Another waiting game now to see if the DVLA will accept the Greek test.

With limited other distractions, we have both got back into exercise … mostly running and some Pilates for me.  J had been increasing his distance and frequency … but then had a really painful foot / ankle.  After 3 days resting it, I started to suspect a stress fracture.  A visit to the Doctor was encouraging as he thought it was not a break, but tendon / sprain.  Anti inflammatories, pain killers and rest.  Almost 2 weeks later and J is now able to walk short distances, but it will be a slow road back to running.  

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Views from the Plaka walk that I / we regularly do as it is not far.

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There are generally 2 cruise ships sheltering in Souda  apparently up for sale.

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Huge Olive trunk … the harvest started early this year … partly so people could get some money into their coffers as the summer season had been so curtailed.  A good harvest this year.

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A walk near Kefalas, where a local creates these wonderful stone structures for others to sit and enjoy.

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We wondered why this path had a fence across it at the bottom … it was slightly over grown and slippery.

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Walk and view from Ebrosneros.

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 Walk near us Kokkino Chora …

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 Kokkino Chorio: Steps down to a deep cave …

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… last time we were here, it was safe to walk across. Wetied CO2 back up top so they couldn’t be washed away.

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A walk past the ancient site of Aptera to …

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 Aptera Castle with amazing 360 views.  That triangular lump is Drapanos hill  we live below it.

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Nearby beach walk.


Residency

We had prepared and brought a lot of documents with us believing we would need them for our Residency Permits.  In the event we were only asked for passports, Greek Tax numbers, EHIC cards electricity bill in the name of our landlady and the tenancy agreement.  A slightly anxious 3 week wait, but we got them.  We have the right to remain here indefinitely … we just need to stay in Greece for a minimum of 6 months for the next 5 years.  James is Irish and I could travel with him freely in the EU (no Brexit 90/180 days restriction), but Residency gives us the right to return here. 

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J’s is valid for 5 years, but mine will need to be replaced with the biometric one by 31.12 … but this has not been yet put in place.  

It was more difficult to open a local bank account.  They needed utility bills from the UK, pension statements, Tax Returns, phone contracts etc etc.  All the paperwork was done, but we had to wait for the Residency Cards before we could collect the pass book and cards.  We don’t actually need local accounts, but the ATMs generally charge EUR3 per withdrawal, and we are saving this fee.  

 

Corrie and Oscar D

Oscar here – her nibs – C – has graciously agreed that I can write this diary – with editorial rights!  It’s been a year (!) since we verbalised our thoughts…..November 2019 – pre-virus……  Since then we’ve been in lockdown Turkey with new friends, back to UK, left Jez for Slovenia repairs – and now back to Crete via our non-motorhome charabanc – Merc K100. I am now seven years young – a mere stripling – C we think will be 4 in February……. As for the owners, well – they are getting on too….  A place called Draftyhouse – no, Drapanos – is our base now – not too far from Kalyves – of a year ago.

Now then, reader(s) – we have this thing called – a house!  It looks ok – it doesn’t have 4 wheels and a steering thingy….you cannot drive it to the beach and park anywhere for the night – it stays in one place… well, for us it will be 6 months.  Inside, there’s a living room/kitchen – up a stairs a bedroom and bathroom. But – in the lounge – there’s a magic sofa that has ben designed for myself and Corrie – no adults allowed – unless Katherine is watching “Harlots” (something about women loose at night?) – or “The Crown” (loose people by day and night – talking posh).  Which means we have a telly – who would have thought it?  It keeps the owners quiet in the evening…

All 4 of us are now Greek residents – which means we can swear in the local lingo – and buy stuff. J is a resident for 5 years – and us until January next – something about a ‘Brexit’… sounds nasty. 

K has bought us special doggy collars – how kind of her – b***ocks!  Mine stops me from barking (after a little bark) – is a dog supposed to not bark?  European Convention of K9 Rights come to mind…  Now Corrie likes to chase and pretend play with sheep and goats – her collar gives a vibrate if she wanders too close to those lovely playthings…spoilsports. We think K and J should have collars – with emote controls we operate if they reach for the gin a second or third time!

Lockdown time again – in all of Greece – this dreadful virus is affecting everyone – we hope it goes away very soon.

We’re all learning Greek – so Kalamera, epharisto and parakola – for now.  Our teacher has promised a lesson in naughty words next week!

Back to the sofa, Corrie…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1336-1338: Booze, Car and Kalyves

1336:  A Booze Day

Friday 1st November

Woohoo.  We’ve done it.  A whole month sober.  Thank you very much to those of you who sponsored us to raise money for Macmillan Nurses.

We celebrated by driving up to the Peza, a wine growing area,  We bounced down a single lane dirt track, wondering how the bottles came out unbroken from the Stilianou winery.  The 4th generation owner told us last night’s rain had caused damage to the road and in a few days he would go out with a digger and repair it … not in time for us, so we bumped back down it.   He is a bio olive oil and wine maker … one of his wines also had no sulphates.  Unfortunately his oil and standard red had been sold out.  Got to taste the oil, which was really good.  He uses a mix of green and black grapes … green for sharpness and red for depth.  As I was driving, James got to finish some of my wine.  We wandered into Peza and saw a large winery with coach loads … this one buys local grapes, whereas the winery we went to you is a small family concern and we were the only customers. Not surprising given the state of the track!  At Peza I spotted the cafe had a good choice of ice cream … so that became lunch!  But then we had massive pastries and coffee before the winery.  

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White wine in the stainless steel.

We drove onto Kalyves, where we stayed the night before the Aged P’s arrived.  The champagne didn’t go on ice early enough and since it is Lauren Perrier, we were not going to drink it warm.  So we both had a large gin.  Then celebrated with supper at one of the beach front restaurants. Only a half litre of red … formerly, this would probably have been 1.5 or 2 litres over a meal.  Then we shared the raki and had a small night cap back in the van  I woke at 4 with a cloudy head … hangover?!  James, of course, had no ill effects.  

The first restaurant didn’t want our custom … dogs not allowed inside.  We know, but we’ve not had any issues with the covered outdoor spaces in all the months we’ve been in Crete.  Next door were happy for us to eat in their gazebo.  The lady was English, married to a Greek.  I suggested her Greek must be very good, quick as a flash she relied with “He’s not bad most of the time!”  Rather think she’s said that before.  Another table of 3 generations of English were next door on their half term holiday.  As soon as we arrived the heavens opened and the water started a torrent through the floor of the outside space …

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A slight flood through the restaurant.

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Corrie was very happy to climb on my lap, she doesn’t like going out in the rain even and certainly not sitting in it.  Oscar, was unperturbed by the flowing water.

1337: Rugby, Shopping and Car Collection 

Saturday 2nd November

We watched the rugby final in the van.  I had to keep knitting through it to stop myself from being over stressed!  We didn’t move much!  Dog walking on the beach and I walked into the main part of the town, finding a fish shop, a butcher, vet for dog food and a supermarket.  Cupboards re-stocked.  Caught up on a bit of admin and the blog.  Then, leaving CO2 in the van, we walked the couple of km to the car hire place.  The owner was South African and the rugby result was the first thing he mentioned.  Funny that!  Sadly he feels that racism and corruption are so entrenched in SA, the win won’t make any difference.  We now have the use of a Fiat Panda on a month by month basis.

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 Our water front pitch with our fleet of vehicles!  Suspect the e bikes won’t get used much at the moment.  The public toilet and water point are the tardis looking building on the right … nice and close.

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 Just showing off a bit … the King of Bream, Gilt Head, cooked under the grill with potatoes, tomatoes and red pepper cooked in the Remoska.  Yummy.

1338: Aptera, Hills and Churches

Sunday 3rd November

Picnic and table and chairs squished into the boot of the Panda, we set of to Aptera.  A popular spot given the 3 coaches of French tourists.  Being the first Sunday of the month, it was free entry.    Aptera has been inhabited since C14 BC and up to 1964, when the monastery was finally abandoned!  It has an amphitheatre, cisterns, Roman baths, old monastery, and small chapel (shut).  

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 James on the Hellenistic (!) path to the amphitheatre.

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And the amphitheatre. 

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The abandoned monastery complex.

 We drove onto the Church in Stylos.  Stylos was significant during the Battle of Crete as the New Zealanders and Australians made a final stand, enabling the Allies to be evacuated.  Many of the Antipodeans were stranded and made their way south … we visited some of the places some of them were evacuated from already, notably Preveli Monastery.  As the locals supported them, there were many villages were destroyed and residents murdered in reprisals.  Stylos was busy with restaurants open and lamb being BBQ’d on great spits.  But too early for lunch and we have our picnic!

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Stylos’ ancient church had some damaged frescoes and excavations inside. 

Past Samonas was the Church of Ayios Nikolas; medieval frescos ‘as good as any on Crete’.  We’ll have to just believe the guide book, as the church was shut!

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Church of Ayios Nikolas.  We could get through the gate, but not into the church.

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We stopped along the road of our picnic… great views out to the Souda Bay.  Only 7 cars passed us in the whole time.

Kalyves beach area seems to be getting ready to shut up for the winter.  After a coffee from the cafe opposite us, we watched them start to pack away all their tables and chairs.  This end of town might become really quite quiet.  Suits us.

 

Corrie and Oscar Blog (combined)

“Well Oscar – what do you think of this place?” “They say we’re in Grease again – in Creti – looks the same to me as Greece and Crete of 2 years ago!”  “By the way, happy birthday – 6-year-old chum!”  “Ok, now the owners are back on the booze again, we’ll have to be careful – mark the level on the gin bottle – and watch James’ heavy pouring hand”  “But Corrie, they say they’re going to drink a lot less…..” Yeah right, Oscar – pigs fly in Crete!”

“Since we arrived (again) in Kalyves, they’ve taken us to Hellenistics, churches, beaches, hilltop picnic areas – they forgot our lunchtime treats once – and put us in a piddly Fiat Pandycar……”

“All right old chum, but they’ve reinstated our sardine and kong rations – even if the old man forgot the feckin kongs last night! “

“let’s give them a chance – They’re good eggs really……”

“More anon, readers”  “Karrapolo, and Jassus – from sunny Crete”