Fwd: News update from Messolongi

Charles & Maggie Bevis
Mon 25 Apr 2016 13:47

24 April and we're still in the cradle and due to be launched tomorrow!  

We have been working hard; the hull is now fully anti-fouled and the gel coat polished and looking good.  Maggie spent all day yesterday going over it again and she just has the last midship to forward side on the starboard to finish off with a final polish. Her poor neck and arms ache.  Charlie has been in the engine room doing maintenance and fitting new pipes and pump to the fridge system - buried right outboard ab, not an easy task in such confined spaces.

The good news is that we're both a lot fitter and have lost some weight; no big meals/cooking/snacking here as we've just been too busy but in the warm sunshine it just hasn't bothered us and we haven't needed to. We have a smoothie for breakfast and then nothing until the evening, when we go into town to a little Italian restaurant.  We have a bowl of salad and order a pizza or bowl of pasta of some kind to share. We've brought the remains of pizza back to the boat for the last two evenings, I think that'll be supper tonight!

As it's Sunday, we're going to have a bit of time off today and give ourselves a bit of recovery time. 

It's not possible to cook whilst we're out of the water as we only have very limited supple of water for the sink and that can't be pumped away, so a small amount gets used each day so that we can wash our coffee cups out and not much else.  We've attached a hose to the drain hole in the bottom of the boat so that at least the water doesn't splash all over the boat and just drains onto the ground.

We slept in the local hotel for 7 nights which meant long hot showers at the end of each day, relaxed our aches and pains. Otherwise, apart from clean bedding and co fly beds, the remainder of the hotel was grotty and unbelievably old fashioned. The furnishings hadn't been updated since it was built way back I. The late 1960's/70's and clearly no money has been spent on it, a.though it was clean! 

We just had a short walk into town from there, to the same little restaurant we go to all the time here. There are plenty of other restaurants but we like the food and his prices, and Spiros who owns and runs it, looks after us well, his food is really good. We moved onto the boat on Friday. By the time we walk back each evening we crawl,into bed exhausted.  I can't believe how many jobs we have to do, not how dirty everything got during the winter, in spite of being under the full winter cover.  I haven't begun to clean the insides yet.

We are due to be launched tomorrow but the handling crew are lazy and badly managed.  There's still quite a queue in front of us who should have been launched last week and are still waiting.  I asked the so called team leader if we would launch on time tomorrow and was told "if we're in the diary for Monday, then of course" but seeing will be believing.  It would be great if we did as we will be able to get all the decks washed down and I'd be able to clean and polish the top sides and everything else that's really dirty at present.  The reddish dust is thick on the decks, it's going to take some shifting, but running water will make a big difference in every respect. It'll also mean we can flush and fill the tanks and have hot water. 

Once we can start fitting the sails on, winter covers and other large stuff into lockers, we'll then have some space to move and the interior clean up will begin.  Don't panic Ann, I think we'll just about have your bed ready for when you arrive!

Today is Palm Sunday in Greece, and next weekend is Easter. It's the Greek Orthodox Church here in Greece, very, very important and Easter is properly celebrated here, unlike the UK where all anyone seems to want to do is  shop!

There was a procession in Messolonghi last night, the biggest procession I have ever seen, with some 7000 or so taking part. Many bands and everyone is various styles of beautiful traditional costume. They came from all over Greece, (goodness only knows where they all slept, as there are very few hotels here, but it was superb to see.  Today they will do it all again but we're to.d it'll be even bigger and much more colourful as all the flags and banners will be on display, which doesn't happen at the evening procession.  Many dignitaries and senior politicians come here to celebrate this festival which happens here every year. 

I can't give all the detail/formation, too lengthy to go into, but in summary, it dates back to 1826 when the Turks invaded to town and massacred many. The women and children were all sheltering on one of the churches which the Turks blew it up, so all were killed, but also many men were killed in the fighting. Out of a population of over 12,000, only just over a 1,000 survived. A local man born here was a general and led the rebels in the battle, so last Thursday evening, there was another small procession from the main church into the town, up to the Hero's park, where a small ceremony takes place and a wreath is laid in his honour.  The men in the parade were all in costumes of that time and what a fierce looking bunch they were. Im sure more can be researched on the good old internet if you're interested and probably more factual that what i've been able to supply!

I cannot imagine how, but last nights huge procession, finished off at the same park, but it's not that big, so goodness knows how it was managed and where everyone went.  It's all taken very seriously and is not a celebration; it finished around midnight, (having started at 7.30 pm).  As the streets are narrow and were extremely crowded, it takes some organising and coordinating that's for sure, but it all went off according to plan as far as we could tell.

By the time we had something to eat, we had reserved a table for 9:30, and began to walk back, the town was bursting at the seams and everywhere, bars, restaurants, we're working to beyond capacity. Great to see and experience though and clearly a boost for the local businesses during such hard times.

We will still be here next weekend, over Easter, but no idea if there'll be anything for us to see.  As mentioned before, they take their religion quite seriously here. The schools will be on holiday for two weeks. 

25 April

Well bless me old socks - I’m 68 today.  Thanks to Herve & Lottie plus Moira and Andy in France, Bob in Australia (where it’s ANZAC day), Karen and Phil in Liverpool, Tina & Ian, Ann in Kent, Philippa & Stephen in London, Jenny & Robin in Milford, Kirsty & James and Matthew in Maidstone, and Jenny & Marion in Woodley Gardens, for their greetings and kind thoughts.  The boatyard also gave us a birthday present and launched ALKIRA at 08:00 this morning.  (Maggie was still in bed!).

All is OK, the boat still floats, the engine started first time and life on board is so much easier with not being perched 2.00 metres above the ground!  Hooray!

Spring is pleasant here in the eastern Med, with better temperatures at this time of year than in France and other western Mediterranean countries, which makes it an attractive place to be in April.  It's just incredibly frustrating how challenging/difficult it can be to get  hold of certain items in the shops or chandlery's or get a decent job done, and as for deliveries, well, it's anyone's guess when it'll turn up. Our water maker was despatched from the UK before we left and it's still in transit somewhere in Greece. It's no wonder this country is in such a mess and bankrupt, they're really their own worst enemies and inefficiency rules big time, sorry to say, with no sign of it ever improving.

Anyway, time I got up and did something useful.

Hope you're all well, everything is ok and Spring has sprung.  We're meeting up with just a few friends in the marina bar for a drink tomorrow evening to celebrate, regardless of whether we're launched or not!

Bye for now,
Lots of love,
Maggie & Charlie xx

Here is yours truly being weaned off the bottle and being taught to drink responsibly.  How much is a unit anyway?  I know Australians live in them so they must be pretty big!