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…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1354-1358: Walks, Gas and Keys!

1354: Medical and Hair

Tuesday 19th November 2019

I needed a blood test and hormone injection – the excellent Health Centre and Laboratory in Kalives duly obliged – 5 minutes from our pitch on the beach. And cheap … EUR15 for the Drs consultation, and EUR 40 for the blood test (EUR120 was paid once in France for this same blood test!).  Good result picked up a few days later … PSA result 0.05, so hormones doing their job. 

Our gas supply is problematic at the moment – we think a new regulator is required.  Lots of gas bottles used here, but not with regulators that have an auto crash cut off sensor!  A short drive to Chania after the local gas/B&Q style shop couldn’t help. The chap at Chania was helpful but didn’t have what we needed either. We may get one sent from mainland Greece…..

K solved the issue of needing a hair wash by having a hair colour appointment!

1355: Cave and Cove Walk

Wednesday 20th November

Now then, readers – your starter for 10 – what’s an anagram of ’AndyPandyCar’?  “Paddynannyrac”?  Answers in cyber time……. who remembers Bamber Gascoigne?  Name the tv programme?  What’s the link to Crete?  Well, the answer is that Paddycar was parked at Kokkino for the walk photographed by the lovely K.  

Fabulous walk with a small cove and amazing sea cave.

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Parked the AndyPandyCar at Kokkino Chorio … the town mostly shut up but lovely views back across to the Akrotiri peninsula and Chania.

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These bulbs are persistent buggers coming up through the tarmac.

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Koutalas Beach / Cove and lunch stop.  I didn’t take a pic of her, but a lady was swimming when we arrived … did wonder if she was skinning dipping and would stay in the water util we left, but she did have a bikini.

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Koutalas Cove.

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Sea cave:  Steps down ..

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The walk book was very clear not to cross here if the rock was wet, so we sent Corrie’s across to test it!

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Amazing colours from the minerals.  

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K walked onto the lighthouse past military land, very careful not to take pix of that!  

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Oh dear.  Christmas has arrived early here too.

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My goodness … perch was ordered … and two huge battered pieces of fish and potatoes … herbs in the batter makes it healthy, right?

And we’re going to this restaurant for more food on Saturday evening – and live Greek music!

1356: Heraklion for Keys!

Thursday 21st November

!.5 hours each way to FIAT Heraklion – to pay for replacement van keys – payment can only be made in person.  K:  All my fault, I seem to have lost them!  And Murphy’s Law, when we only have one set, we will loose them!  An expensive business replacing keys … EUR265 programmed alarm key!  The habitation key was much cheaper £19 for 2 and Maddy will bring them out to us in December.  

What does “FIAT” stand for?  Not “Fix It Again Tomorrow”!  “Fabricato Italiano Automobile Torino”…. We did some shopping – a bit crowded – and lunch……   

1357: Poorly Girl

Friday 22nd November 

K was a little unwell – very unusual (we aborted our walk from Armeni)….she slept a lot during the day – Oscar, Corrie and I rallied around – and did – ‘stuff’.  Mainly dog walking and being very quiet – like that tonic water advert “Sch….”

1358: Armeni Walk Accomplished

Saturday 23rd November 

K rallied after an excellent night’s sleep – hurrah!  Drove to Armeni – coffee and cookies. Deja vue at the same coffee shop and our order of yesterday was remembered.  We chatted to a young lad whose father we had talked to here yesterday … another ex pat musician.  Oscar was much admired – not Corrie this time…..

6k walk – flat terrain – a few dogs – and terrapins in the local river. What’s a good recipe for ‘terrapin flambe’?  Pan on low heat with olive oil – carefully remove terrapin shell – heat to sizzle (not on our gas though) and serve with garnish and crusty shell  – flame with lots of raki – watch your eyebrows…..  Masterchef?  No!     K:  May I point out that J is of the school of Can’t Cook, Won’t Cook! I once considered buying him cookery lessons, but decided that was a gift for me, not him!

And off up to the hill village for local music now.

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Our walk was flat, but views of the White Mountains.

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Amongst the orange groves … and no we didn’t pick any.

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A Venetian water mill.

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No livestock until towards the end of the walk, so CO2 were off lead 🙂

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Post walk rest .. O almost camouflaged.