after three months away return to find summer is still here.temperatures in the mid 20′s whilst northern europe is in the deep freeze..but this cant last for ever so its time to harvest some dead olive trees to fuel the heating for the winter…such as shame that 2 of the older trees have gone but they will hopefully re sprout and pruning and the occasional chop down will probably provide all the wood for the house.
after the heatwave came the storm..full moon tonight preceded by 2 days of strong winds .no rain unfortunately,but at least work starts again and our albanian boys turn up to get on with the drystone walling .. they go through 2 truck loads of stone -about 4 tons- in 2 hours so we get vangelis to bring another…although i accuse Tassos the builder of eating the stone you can see how rapidly the wall goes up..and i love the look of it.. the storm has played havoc with the beach though coating it in seaweed and debris so the boys from astarti taverna turn up to clean up and of course their tame sheep comes along to help….
well its been baking hot now for quite some time and with the 15th of august celebrations things have been quite quiet as most people have melted away..some literally.. but slowly as the temperature drops to merely scorchio they are starting to reaapear..and hopefully the stone wall building should restart tomorrow if the new stone arrives… meanwhile the usual hatch of swallows are making merry with the pool up to 50 of them dipping ,diving and crashing into the pool with great abandon..and as this snap shows the little blighters are drinking my pool.. now what i need to know is how much a swallow can drink x by about 50 x three times a day..and i can work out the bill to send them..one of my neighbours tells me you can get 1k per year grant for donkey ownership.i wonder how much the eu would give me for watering swallows..
well its was 34C in the shade and so about 50C in the sun but still they broke the rocks and built the wall. the idea is to have a retaining wall then bulldoze some extra soil in to make an area to park the car…stone is slightly different colour but it will all fade to grey/beige after a while..meanwhile the house is being tested for child friendliness. which is a good if steep learning curve. first thing is the pool which is used to the occasional swim gets full on massive child attack and turns milky and also has much of its contents spread far and wide.. so budget for more pool refilling and also to higher chlorine level when children imminent in the future…
well i built the pool with a staircase rather than a ladder so our furry friends can find their way out should the happen to fall in.. but i didnt reckon on hedgehogs taking time for a dip. This little spiky one was doing a fine breast stroke this morning but needed to be fished out in a net. i will now have to find another way to provide a safety exit..maybe a plastic slide!meanwhile i have just finished cleaning off the remnants of stubborn algae that survived the chlorine shock treatment so i had to spend a day underwater with a wire brush which was fun and now the stone has arrived to do the dry stone walling part 2!
well got the pool furniture assembled and once again wished i had watched blue peter when i was a kid i am not a diy person.. then on to the kitchen shelves which unfortunately didnt come with wall screws and of course today is holy trinty day and also the day when you have to wash your feet in the sea for good luck! so the shops were shut as everyone presumably has salty foot day off. so the kitchen remains un-shelved and tomorrow is another day!
swallows are all well and good outside swooping about eating bugs and being wonderful.. but inside they are somewhat of a pain..i dont mind the geko’s that live up the chimney.they dont make much noise..occasional squeak and only come out at night to snack on insects.. but this swallow keeps getting stuck in the living room..swooping about in semi panicky way and adorning my floor with partly digested mozzies.. 2 hours i have been trying to persuade the thing to leave but to no avail.. now working on a recipe for swallow souvlaki.. well here animal rights aren’t quite the same.. one of my neighbours told me that when his friend shot one of the elanora’s falcons its stomach was full of bees! i couldnt understand the reason given for the shooting but in england he would have a vegan encampment outside his house by now throwing petrol bombs …things are different here…!
so the cultivated flowers are doing almost as well as the wild ones in the garden and as far as wildlife goes at last i got a snap of the strangely crested hoopoe bird.. next will be the quest to get it with crest en flagrent…and this i think is a geko called kotschkis geko or something similar, the one that lives in the chimney is i think a turkish geko and is the colour of elastoplast…i will try and photograph its nocturnal hunts..
Slowly doing the detailing inside..still more to do but here is where its at at the moment starting with downstairs bedroom/bathroom.the bathrooms are both the same appart from the ceiling height and are made from polished plaster. cementacornia in greek which is made with river sand and choosing which river decides on the shade of the finish. The waterproofing is done with some fiendishly expensive stuff which originates in texas and doesnt change the colour at all.. The room is heated when necessary by a 6ft high stainless steel radiator/towel rail which you can see reflected in the mirror and the sink is carved out of a block of marble.Hot water is from a large solar paneled tank on the roof but there is a backup immersion for cloudy days.the bedrooom,as with all the house and the front terraces, is floored with water blasted marble and has french windows leading on to a small terrace and the garden.the pathway leads straight to the pool terrace. The bed was made in the uk from reclaimed timber- the large wardrobe is aluminium and glass and there is an antique washstand and mirror.There is also an armchair which folds out into a bed for extra accommodation if required.The view from the bed is stunning and the coastline above the beaches provides an endlessly changing panorama. as does the neighbouring island of Alonissos which seems to change shape as the light moves over it during the day. next upstairs!yes the upstairs bathroom differs from the downstairs mainly in being higher up! and a little smaller………the upstairs bedroom ,however, differs from its downstairs equivilant as it has a beautiful open beamed chestnut ceiling -an overanging wooden balcony and a private roof terrace.. but more of that later…