July 2011




So, we saw Nephew Dominic off and headed back to Ithaca. We got our favourite berth, tucked out of the wind and close enough to the fishermen's wharf to snaffle some power. We were joined by Cassiopeia who had just arrived from the Saronic, and we had some more fun together.


. Dimitri was generous as ever, and here's a picture of he and Libby showing off his latest gift.


July 14th - Bastille day. I'll never forget being in the French alps as a child and being hugely impressed by the fireworks, celebration and general jollity. To my uneducated childish mind, it seemed everyone must be celebrating something really GOOD, as opposed to the brutal slaughter of thousands of largely innocent souls.


Anyway, talking of brutal, it's been brutally hot here this last week or so. we're surviving best we can with the cooling fans permanently on maximum and the glorious tomato netting defusing the sun's full force. The deck gets too hot to walk on with bare feet, and if you leave your flip-flops out, then it's a while before you can bear going anywhere. As I write, we are tied up at the Sunsail base near Palairos. It's early morning and the girls are still sleeping. The ridge of "murder mountain" behind the site is getting brighter and brighter, and soon the sun will burst over the top of it, sending me scurrying below for shade. I remember several refits when I worked here in the 90s. Hard to believe it now, but it would be freezing cold overnight,(February-March) and we would long for the sun to pop up over the mountain and start defrosting our frozen limbs.


We enrolled Libby in kids club this week in order to give her a solid week of fun, and give Penny and I a chance to do some jobs. It makes a huge difference to what we can achieve when we don't have the little urchin under our feet all the time wanting food, drink, entertainment and company generally. And she IS a little urchin now - much to her delight. She's moved up from "Snappers", (ages 2 - 4, "Snap Snap baby yeah!") and is with the bigger kids in "Sea Urchins", (5 - 7, "Prick Prick baby yeah!"). We all remember what it's like to move up a level like this, and Libby has taken it very well. I wonder if our association with Sunsail will continue through her childhood and see her becoming a "Junior Gyber", "Senior Gyber" and ultimately "Beach Team". The beach team is quite large this week, no doubt with kids who've just finished GCSEs. They roam in packs and look ever so important. I honestly had tears in my eyes as I dropped Libby with the Urchins on Monday, partly because I wasn't going to see her all day, but also because of the advancement up the kids club ladder. I suddenly got the feeling that it was all happening too quickly.




This is what comes of not having enough important stuff to worry about right now, like say a job for instance and whether or not my boss was going to be kind today etc.


We really are having a cracking year so far, and much of it has been thanks to the company we've kept. Last year we certainly met some wonderful families, but they were few and far between so apart from old friends and our guests, we had a lean social scene. This year's been quite different.


Ah, here's the sun now, and instantly I can feel a bead forming on my brow. Time to head below.



  28th July. Had a great meal out in Corfu last night with Mick, and Jules and the boys plus friend Laura. The boys were fantastic with Libby and, unaccustomed as we were to the relative freedom, we accidentally got trashed.


I had my birthday present (a highly sensitive wifi transceiver) some weeks ago, but Libby was concerned I had no presents today. However, on the way back from dropping Penny with Jules for onward delivery to the airport, we came across a hedge trimmer, trimming a "flower hedge". Libby sorted through some cuttings and presented me with a small selection. She also drew for me a wonderful card. Happiness is....!




Penny's flown home for a wedding - or rather flies in a little under an hour. She made it to the airport thanks again to the generosity of Jules. We thought she was joking when she told us only last night that there was a taxi strike in force. A taxi strike I ask you?! For goodness sake guys, just get out of the euro, de-value and turn the country back into a pleasant and cheap holiday destination. It's perfectly ludicrous to imagine the country could stand fiscally shoulder to shoulder with powerful nations from the north. I digress.


Having been kept up to all hours last night, Libby is chilling in front of a film and I'm doing this. It's not all that often that I find wifi and a free half-hour all at the same time! Still slightly groggy from a bucket full of Retsina, I'm struggling to make a decision. Maybe we'll just hit the marina swimming pool this afternoon and make a decision tomorrow.


Recently had a crop of new "challenges". The generator continues to worry us, but is running at the moment. A strange thing happened the other night in Monganissi on Paxos. A Belgian flagged yacht anchored very close by, and I was a trifle concerned, but in this part of the world, anchorages can get very packed out at this time of year, so I didn't complain. Perhaps I should have done though, because in the morning, we awoke to a new wind direction - the boats had all swung around, but the Belgian boat was missing. An early starter? Then I noticed one of our large fenders was hanging over the side. Strange. Then I noticed something much worse. Our starboard windscreen panel had become dislodged - as if some clot had fallen heavily on it. Had we had Belgians aboard in the night trying to fend off? We'll never know.




Penny noticed I was in a pensive mood - I was hoping to somehow fix it before she noticed. Fat chance. It was one of those moments that I used to sometimes get on the big boats. Such and such has gone wrong and I have to find a way to fix it. It's somehow worse now because I don't have a budget for this sort of thing, nor a wealthy owner's credit card to call on.


Penny and I squeezed and pushed but it was like trying to get a pint of jelly into a matchbox. Finally I got the tools out and removed the aluminium extrusion and other bits. Happily it all came apart without much fuss, and we were able to reassemble it and re-fit it. Ultimately it was fixed, but not before a big emotional roller coaster. It's the helplessness one feels in these situations. It's hard to find artisans to help when there's such a language barrier. Secondly at this time of the year, anyone who's any good is horribly busy. Then there's the crippling expense of being in a marina, let alone the opportunity cost. Finally, there simply is no budget. Anyway, all's well that ends well.


I haven't used the camera much this month, but here are some odd pictures from July as yet unseen: