1397-1505: A New Decade and Acts of Kindness

Not wanting to sound soppy …. Both James and I are struck with how kind and helpful people are generally, but this last week has particularly humbled us.


1397: New Year’s Eve Festivities

Tuesday 31st December 2019

Walked on Sandy beach and then coffee and pastries.  We left the street parking outside what may have been a council building; lots of folk going in and out, but sideways places at us –  so with thanks to Paleochora…..

In convoy back to Kalives to load with water and then up to friend of a friend parking (again!).   Act of Kindness No. 1: parking for us arranged by Julia.  Self showered and off to Eleanore’s eatery at Drapanos. Act of Kindness No. 2:  Thank you to June, Karl and Lars for inviting us.  Conversation flowed, and the wine flowed faster!  A little Greek dancing to the live band, but not much room for a dance floor as the place was rammed with diners.  A testament to how relaxed andchilled the Greeks are … the kitchen couldn’t cope with the numbers … 90 covers for a small family restaurant, and hot food was still coming out at 1.00a.m.  Important to the Greeks is that it is freshly cooked.  A lot of tourists complain that starters arrive often with the main course and that it is not piping hot.  It comes out of the kitchen when it is ready and most plates are for sharing.  

We left at 2:00 am – the party was still in full swing – including 10 police officers and wives – drink driving???  “Chonia palla” to all – Happy New Year (sort of) – in Greek!!! 

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The sun out again for our walk on Sandy Beach  

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 … there was a cold wind so no-one was taking advantage of this being the nudist area.

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At Eleanore actually trying to capture the family with fine identical moustaches behind us!

1398: Enforced Easy Day

Wednesday 1st January 2020

Slow start and slow day.  Can’s think why!!!  Back down the hill to Kalives.  

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Dogs just got walked along the beach  more snow on them there hills.

 

1399: Doctor and Soup Making

Thursday 2nd January 

Weather was really grim.  Visited the good doctor to arrange hearing test for moi – pardon? Pm – coffee / wine with Ann and K making batch soup amounted to our sole activity!  A continuing good start to 2020 – shall K ask me to marry her – again – leap year – I would leap at the answer… 


1400: Chania Activity

Friday 3rd January 

After two days of inertia and lack of activity.  A trip to Chania for laundry and late lunch at an amazing restaurant – “Tamam” – which in Arabic means ‘excellent’ – how apposite? 

N.B.  I know laundry is usually undertaken in the twin tub, but the inclemency of the weather and not wishing to turn Jez into a 5 day long Chinese steam laundry, meant a paid for self service facility was required.

K met Ann for coffee and received post that had arrived at Ann’s Act of Kindness No. 3:  this is the second time Ann has acted as post receiver for us  … Valarian for Oscar.  Not vallium … but similar!!  The hope is that it will calm his anxiety and over excitement … fingers crossed.

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Tamam Restaurant, recommence by about 3 people.  In old town Chania, so prices a little higher but excellent quality.  A plate of mixed starters, then from the left  Js veal, pork and cheese pie, Brians beef and aubergine puree, and Kseabass with fennel sauce.  All really yummy.

 

1401: A Lars Led Walk

Saturday 4th January

Blazing sunshine and warm – what a change…….Lars was tour guide for our river walk from Kalyves – as Brian was unwell, we took Zoa – who seemed to adopt me … Longest walk (11km) I have done for a year?  Wonderful views of the snowy hills and then a glimpse of the sea.  Through lots of orange groves … a man slowed his car and thrust his arm out of the window proffering a bag of oranges.  We do like the Greeks.  Not only did Lars guide the walk, he had baked a Swedish apple pie which we had with coffee.  And we left with a chunky slab, a Swedish cheesecake and some lingonberry jam.  Act of Kindness No. 4:  Lars!

Act of Kindness No. 5: One of our recent friends from New Years Eve (Karl) arrived with a smokeless Bbq – he and K had been discussing kitchen gadgets at New Year – how kind is that – amazing!  We just need some fuel and decent weather to test it!

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The snow is definitely a little heavier, but so pretty with the sun on it. 

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A real contrast with the snow and the shirt sleeves only temperature amongst the olive groves.

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Oscar and Zoa had a few stand offs and stick pinching moments  very entertaining!

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Cant wait to give this a go  batteries power an underneath fan so it is ready to cook in 5-10 mins and uses much less charcoal.

 

1402-1404: Wet and Windy

Sunday 5th January

Another day for battening down the hatches….supper with Lars at Icarus…. the menu was a bit limited and white wine ran out so red was a good substitute!  Michelle showed a mug she bought Michaelis – the inscription was “I can’t keep calm … I’m a Greek man!”

As the wind speeds increased, we moved Jez – We’re getting good at this – “CluneVanRemovals”??? 

 

Monday 6th January

K had developed a cold – so a bit of a duvet day for her – poor lamb – not even a ‘girlyflu’… I manfully stepped up the plate and plated (nice pun, J) a sort of meal……’great balls of fire’ – well, great balls of meat with a sweet potato and a few leaves of cabbage. I’m now awaiting the call from ‘DastardlyChef’……..  Act of Kindness No. 6:  Brian kept us topped up with coffees and chocolate!

 

Tuesday 7th January

“Revicanusenlome” (anagram) moved Jez back to our beach wild camping place.  K and Brian had a wet and windy walk with dogs around the head at Plaka.  Supper with Brian … K’s take on a Greek classic … pork with celery.

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Juicing session with the oranges … Act of Kindness No. 7:  Lars had hunted us out to deliver them.

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Massive swell and crashing waves off Plaka.

 

1405: What was that?  Pardon!

Wednesday 8th January

Early start – 0700hrs – blimey!  Blood test results for moi – all positive…..off to Chania – pronounced “hhanya”!  Brian came – we laundrified at ‘Easywash’ – coffee’d across the road where I was persuaded to eat most of our cakes – no great problem – Cretan cakes are scrummy. 

Then – to a hearing specialist – for my ‘earring test. The ‘eerie’ result was what we expected – 2 massive ear trumpets to stick in my channels!  Who remembers ‘HMV’ – ‘His Masters Voice’ – visualise the poor dog…. well, perhaps a little smaller. We won’t mention the Euroresult…….

Splendid lunch again at Tamam – noshtimmo….  Back next Monday for fitting of trumpets and more Tamam foodies – life is a breeze – if you can ‘ear it.  Oh dear, this ‘ere lobe theme may run and run…..

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 ere we go … not Shrek wax but being measured for the hearing aids.

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Tamam:  chickpea soup, rice and chicken and bacon rolls … yummy.

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The Venetian Harbour in Chania has suffered with the strong winds … marble paving slabs ripped up …

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… Sand and rubbish thrown up quite a long way into restaurants …

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And this is relatively calm now.

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Dog walk round the back of Kalives … we are parked up towards the far end.

1359-1371: Gas Limits Play!

1359: 1371

Sunday 24th November – Thursday 5th December 2019

Being so out of date, this post is a summary …. that’ll teach me to get behind.

 

Gas Truma Trama

The replacement Truma regulator arrived, but the new version is configured E and S, ours is N and S.  Our regulator is also positioned too low down, as it should be above the top of the gas bottles … apparently the into-habitation pipes are often cut as motorhomes are imported into the UK and a cheap regulator attached.  We had met a lovely local ex-pat couple Anthony and Julia … who just happen to be motorhomers and he is dead handy, having been a vehicle mechanic.  As soon as the Truma arrived, we hot footed it to Anthony.  No, due to the different shape, it would not physically fit in our locker with the two bottles.  However, they very kindly loaned us (and fitted) their spare French gas bottle (propane and more pressure, which is why it worked with our failing regulator) so we could heat water and shower!  It felt such luxury.

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Anthony and Julias French gas bottle enabling much needed showers … and you can see the N /S regulator is too low in relation to the top of the yellow GasLow bottle.

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The replacement E / S regulator.

We then bought a Greek bottle … propane and a hose and bottle end attachment …. just needed the connection to the regulator.  Nope.  We drove in the AndyPandyCar into 2 specialist gas places in Chania … no way would anywhere in Crete be able to supply us with the connector, we were told!  GRRR!  Having bought a regulator that didn’t fit, and now a gas bottle we couldn’t use, it is definitely a case of of throwing money at a problem BUT not getting anywhere!

On the phone to GasLow in the UK and a really helpful Martin … they could send us a N and S regulator which would fit in the locker.  No crash cut off sensor, but we do have rupture thingies built into the bottles … apparently!  It would take about 11 days to get to Greece … ah Maddy could bring it out with her and save on postage.  I checked with EasyJet about a regulator being allowed in hand luggage …. no it will look like tools so must go into the hold.  Maddy not delighted with this news as she only has 1.5 hrs between flights at Athens and historically airlines have a history of losing her luggage.  I balked at the fee of £59 for a case in the hold one way!  Quickly back onto the phone to GasLow … no it had not been collected by Parcel Force yet … £30 to post to Greece, which incidentally is the price of the regulator.  Fortunately as we were sorting this out, lovely Ann, who lives in Kalyves walked past and allowed us to use her postal address.  She messaged today, that the parcel has arrived.

In the pursuit of extending the pipe so the new Truma Mono would fit, we had a local plumber look at it.  No … nowhere in Greece would we be able to get anyone to extend this pipe.  He did remove Anthony and Julia’s French bottle, which we felt we ought to return before we consumed all their gas.  In putting our two GasLow bottles back, he managed to create a gas leak!  Some plumber and EUR20 later … more money with no solution!  The system had been running the fridge and I had been using the slow cooker and Remoska on days that I did cook, but now we had no gas at all.  So we ended up at Camping Elizabeth, Rethymno with hook up for 5 nights for EUR19/per night …basic but right on the beach, a cold fridge and HOT SHOWERS!

Whilst all this was going on, I had emailed the Greek mainland Truma wholesaler who had sold us the Truma Mono regulator to say thank you, but it didn’t fit in our cupboard as the pipe is too low, but does he sell the Greek bottle connector to a regulator?  He was promptly on the phone …. he was going to send a Greek gas bottle to regulator pigtail (new term to us) and the pipe to extend our into-habitation pipe to his Crete agent in Heraklion.  This is the agent who said he was too busy to help us.

When the parts arrived the miserable Truma agent said he would fit them.  Result … not your usual motorhome service centre at all.  He is so busy at the moment as he fixes olive harvesting equipment (and water pumps etc) and as the harvest is in full swing he is working 12 hr + days.  They put a motorbike across the front of the shop to secure a parking for Jez and he worked squatting on the pavement!  But he knew what he was doing, which is the main thing.  He spotted the next problem really quickly. He could extend the pipe and fit the new regulator …. but as we have a T bar for the two GasLow tanks, one of the hoses would be pointing N and there is insufficient room!  Double GRRR!  He got on the phone to the mainland wholesaler … we now needed a right hand junction …. it’s ordered and now on its way.

BUT THE GOOD NEWS IS … he quickly extended the pipe, fitted the new regulator and the Greek bottle pigtail … so we are now on gas!  Both he and the wholesaler are adamant that while in Greece we should use the domestic exchangeable bottles as the service station LPG is low quality.

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The Greek bottle all pigtailed up.  Good to go.

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 Not convinced the service statin LPG would be too much of a problem as we have inline filters fitted.  They were replaced in September and I had checked they were clear.

Amazing what you learn when things go wrong.  If there were evening classes in motorhome maintenance, or a week’s residential, we would be the first to sign up. And I KNOW NOW that we should have had a spare regulator … but I had asked on a forum what spares to carry and no-one mentioned a regulator.  We do have a spare water pump at £125, which of course, will not fail now!  And once we pick up the GasLow regulator, we will have a spare … finally!

 

Moni Arkadhi

30th November

Similar design, but not as attractive as Agios Triadha, but interesting for its history.  During the 1866 rebellion against the Turkish rulers, the monastery was a Cretan stronghold and sanctuary for many local families.  After a two day Turkish siege, the defences were breached and the Abbot ignited the ammunition store where many families were sheltering.  Enraged, the Turks killed the Crete survivors, thus inciting a wave of independence sympathy for Crete.

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A Venetian structure Church.

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The well laid out museum included samples of the intricate embroidery carried out by the monks.

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The tree had a arrow pointing to a Turkish bullet still wedged in its trunk. 

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The ammunition store which the Abbot ignited once the battle was lost.  All the women and children sheltering here were killed … preferable to slavery and being placed in a harem.

Acroplis of Eleftherna and Museum

30th November

A new museum for only EUR2, with excellent English explaining how the ancient town of Eleftherna had been one of the largest and most significant in Crete, dating back to C8-7 BC, and then changed / adopted by the Romans.  The museum hosted a temporary exhibition of ancient coins … intricate detail and each town minted its own.  They were traded, based on weight.

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The picnic spot was the very much closed ticket office carpark for the Ancient site.

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Given all these ancient structures spread over a huge area, we though we’d get a bit of walking done, but it was all locked up and no way in. Shame as most places are left open so people can still visit out of season.

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This was the view of the necropolis from the road … as close as we could get.

CO2 Update

Locals in Kalyves warned us that sometimes poison is put down to quell the stray cat population.  The German word for poison is Gift … not much of a gift at all.  And as CO2 both like to eat whatever bones, and stick their trouts in the free food for stray cats and dogs (I know the locals feed them and the kill them!!!) and have both had upset tummies from what rubbish they’ve consumed, the muzzles have had to come out.

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Corrie is more accepting, but they are both frustrated they can’t pick up sticks!  Sadly most people seem to think they are muzzled as they are aggressive. 

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Morning walk along the beach to the small harbour and the view looking back to where we are parked.

Leich is a particularly nasty non-curable disease for dogs.  They cannot catch it from other dogs but from sandfly, in most Mediterranean countries. CO2 have been wearing Scalibor collars since Corsica, but they only last 6 months.  I nipped into the vet to check I could remove the collars, but was told that as Crete is warm and there is a lot of wind, the sandfly are around all year here.  There is also an injection and as neither injection or collar are 100% prevention, it is recommended that they have both.  Duely sorted.

Whilst at the vets, I was given the run down on why I should have Oscar castrated (again).  Poor lamb is booked in for 17th December.  It will be interesting to see how we cope with his cone of shame in the motorhome for a week!  Might be the muzzle or us being very vigilant that he doesn’t worry at his wound during the day.

Walks

We have been making good use of the local walking books Ann gave us.  I’ve done a few when J nanny naps in the afternoon.

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So it rained last night and someone sensibly wore boots and gaiters … not saying who!

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We often come across threshing areas and ancient wells.

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The beach by Camping Elizabeth looking back to Rethymno, and its fortress.  We found the non-touristy centre and liked it better than when we visited with the Aged Ps … lack of tourists, says us!

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Fully loaded but not tied down … we kept our distance!