Here in Messolonghi,
winter life trundles along. I know that you all think that we are on permanent
holiday and party day and night, well, in between all the parties, life here is busy and quite 'normal' -- dominated by school and work.
We are up early (the alarm goes off at 06:45 to get the children to school by
bike by 08:00) and we eat supper relatively early to get B&B in bed at a
decent time to get up early… you know the routine. They still seem to be
enjoying school, and have brought home friends to play and the odd cold. School
was shut for a week as so many children were off with colds and ‘flu. We are
keeping an eye on the global swine ‘flu situation – Greece doesn't seem to be too badly affected at the moment.
I am busy with writing projects, David is working on boat jobs. He
got the split fuel tank out (it took 4 blokes to wiggle it out of the
hole) and managed to get it welded, saving us about 1000 Euros on a new one
custom made to fit through the hole and into the available space.
How many blokes do you think we can fit into CAPE’s engine
However, it isn’t all
sun and games and some bits of boatie life here are not so pleasant. [Look away
now Jenny, I’m going to talk toilets.] Unfortunately the marina facilities
haven’t progressed at all, and the limited facilities that we have are not being
maintained – getting a hot shower is a bit of a lottery because the marina owner
won’t leave the hot water heater on, and the toilets back up onto the loo floor
and into the showers (apparently this is not a problem). The sewerage is being
pumped somewhere out of sight and out of mind but not out of scent range, and
all complaints are met with verbal abuse – it is so nice to be a valued
customer! Luckily, most of the liveaboards are pulling together in spite of the
poo, and we are having a great time; the town is brilliant and the locals really
friendly, making up for the other stuff – at the moment anyway. Watch this
In the weather department, we had a couple of weeks of constant
thunderstorms, wind and rain – a whole winter’s worth of rain apparently (which
added to the backflow problems in the marina). The weather has now settled
again, with (mostly) sunny days, and although the wasps have finally given up
and died, the mozzies are still pretty persistent. It sometimes drops to about
5°C overnight – the Greek ski resorts (Greece’s best-kept secret) opened about a
month ago, and we can see snow on the mountains of the Peloponnese, across the
Gulf of Patras to the south east.
Snow on the mountains of the Peleponnese.
On the food front
The BBQs continue. We finally managed to eat all of that fish.
The first week we had BBQ'd mullet, then mullet fishcakes, followed
by mullet and lemon pate, with some frozen for next time. What we didn’t cook the first week was frozen and it reappeared at
the next BBQ, followed by more mullet and lemon pate...
We have themed food evenings in the clubhouse – we have had a Curry
Night and French Cuisine so far, with an Oriental Food Evening lined up for this
week. We did chicken with 40 garlic cloves (poulet
a quarante gousses d'ail) for the French night – you could probably smell us from the UK the
Curry Night after the locusts had passed
Music, Greek and games
We have the option to
do Greek lessons on Wednesdays and Fridays, French conversation, Tai Chi-type
stuff, aerobics and circuits every week, Stitch and Bitch sessions (sorry, never
been, don’t know), Scottish country dancing, a games night (board and card
games) and the odd Karaoke here and there if there is a spare evening. No we
don’t go to everything – there just aren’t enough hours in a
Gettin’ into the
Bethany and Bryn
getting their first taste of Karaoke.
The Karaoke went down
well, even if we sang some numbers a little too
The music group is going from strength to strength, with Paul and
Hilary (PAX NOSTRUM) doing a great job keeping us all in line, in tune and
equipped with words, chords and inspiration. We have half a dozen guitars, a banjo and a banjolele (a
four-stringed instrument with a small banjo-type body and a fretted ukulele
neck, so Wikipedia says), an accordion and a squeeze box, harmonicas, bongo drums, a clarinet
and penny whistles. We get together for a workshop on Saturday afternoons and a
jam session on Wednesday evenings. Bryn and David are working on their guitars,
Beth is working on her penny whistle,
and I've dusted off my vocal cords and dug out all the old folk stuff that I
sang at school and then at uni. Our repertoire is growing, so we’ll be able to
busk if things ever get really bad -- Sailing, Knockin on Heaven's Door, Blowing in the Wind, Scarborough Fair, Streets of London, The Blackleg Miner, The Twa Corbies, The Irish Rover... The Smith Family Von
Trapp do a special turn with the Welsh Counting the Goats song.
Tuning up in the
We’ve caught up with a few friends. We did the usual routine of
talking junk and drinking wine with Karen and Richard (PYXIS) when they came out
for a week, and Rosie and Otwin (ENYA) popped in to see us while they were out
exploring from Levkas. Julia (WILD OATS) came to stay on her way from Cagliari
to Kalamata to see her mum. We showed her around the bright lights of
Messolonghi, played bar games and finished off with a gyros (the Greek version
of a doner kebab) for supper. It was lovely to see her and catch up on all the
news from Cagliari.
Catching up with
We had a Praying
Mantis on board – she was amazing! She was quite happy to walk up gently up your
arm and look around. Apparently they make good pets and eat mozzies,
cockroaches, flies etc. (anything smaller than themselves). However, she didn’t
cope well with the varnished surfaces inside the boat, so we let her go to
tackle the Messolonghi mozzies in general rather than the ones that keep
sneaking on board.
Our praying mantis (about 10 cm long).
Christmas is coming
are starting to go up for Christmas in the town and on some of the boats, and
even more parties and festive food opportunities are being planned. We have to
dismantle Bryn’s bed to dig out our decorations and hope that they haven’t gone