Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Loggos holiday 3

Second day with the boat. Having vaguely mastered the basics of handling a little boat yesterday, I planned to get to the boat hire shop earlyish (as near to 9am as poss) and head for Anti-Paxos, the little sister island about a mile south of Paxos. Felt a bit bad about getting my team up early but assured them that the effort would be worthwhile. Stocked up with a few goodies from the bakery just after 9am, left harbour at around 9.30 and arrived at Anti-Paxos' beautiful Voutoumi beach about an hour later. The colour of the water there really is mind-boggling. Like being in the Bahamas. Dropped Georgie and Don off at the jetty then dropped anchor in the middle of the bay and swam ashore. Wasn't too crowded at that time of day, considering it was high season, so we were able to grab a sunlounger each and a beach brolly. Had about a half hour before the Gaios boatloads arrived so we took the opportunity for a leisurely swim. Bright sunshine, clear turquoise sea, white sand and a big blue sky with not a cloud in sight Absolutely stupendous. Dried off then assumed the horizontal on the sunlounger. Would have then smothered myself with suntan cream but, strangely, we didn't appear to have any. Turned out that the girls had considered the price of 20 quid a bottle somewhat extortionate. So, being Captain Sensible and not giving two hoots about appearances, I donned teeshirt, covered legs and feet with a towel, head with a tea towel, lowered the brolly and hid in the shade. Alongside me, bronzed Adonises flashed the suntan cream with gay abandon and soaked up the sun, occasionally glancing in my direction with a pitying look. But I cared not a fig nor jot. Sunburn can ruin a holiday. Advised Georgie and Don to do the same but they apparently thought just a little bit of sun wouldn't do any harm. They were both lobster-pink the next day and Georgie could hardly walk. I was fine though. Apart from the mozzy bites, that is.

With the beach filling up with bonkers sun-worshippers and feeling a tad thirsty, I rounded up my team and headed for a bar I'd spotted up on the hill overlooking the bay. The exhausting climb of the hundred-odd steps (in reality, probably only about fifty) was well worth the effort. With its spectacular view, the bar/restaurant has rocketed to the top of my all-time favourites. Mind you, on a cloudy day with the wind whistling through, some of its appeal could well be lost. But on a hot sunny day there's nothing to beat it. Top marks.

Swimming done, beer done, beach packed and time around two-ish, it seemed a good time to weigh anchor and head back to the main island. Swam out to the boat, picked up Georgie and Don at the jetty, reversed out steering clear of swimmers, turned around, headed out to sea and turned left towards the main island. Panos had recommended hitting the homeward trail at around 2.30 which allowed four hours for the return trip. I thought this was a bit excessive but as soon as we headed north we hit a head wind and possibly a head current (if there is such a thing) and our little boat seemed a little lacking in the power department, so maybe his advice was spot on.

Popping along at a steady pace, we still had time for a quick swim at a bay twixt Gaios and Loggos. Dropped anchor but forgot to untie the rope from the boat so the anchor just dangled about without reaching the sea floor. Couple of helpful chaps on the big launch nearby informed us of our folly in quite loud voices (mystery to me that they knew we were English). All a bit embarrassing so we moved into shallower water and re-slung anchor. Actually I think Georgie re-slung it but, being reluctant to let go, thereby risking losing the anchor forever, she kept hold of the rope as the anchor gripped. Normally this action would result in the boat coming to a gentle halt but, such was my concentration on Georgie's panicky screams, I forgot to select neutral, thus resulting in the boat continuing forward motion with Georgie grimly fighting a biting anchor. Poor thing could have easily disappeared over the side. In a situation like that she'd never let go.

Swim over, we chugged into Loggos for a welcome aperitif at our fave bar. Packed out again. Had a ham omelette and chips at our backstreet Four Seasons bar then climbed the rocky path home where Georgie and Don smothered themselves with after-sun cream as the pain of sunburn slowly started to get a grip.

Next day we stayed at the villa and the girls kept in the shadows occasionally muttering 'ow' and 'I can feel the lines on my face multiplying'. Bought some suntan cream in the evening. Better late than never.

Loggos holiday 2

This was our second trip to the wonderful isle of Paxos. Our first was about a quarter of a century ago when we stayed just outside Gaios. Explored the island on hired scooters, whizzing up dusty tracks in baking heat. Probably explains why I remember it as being a barren sort of place with beaches that were totally inaccessible. But this time it was different. This time we hired a little boat. So for three glorious days we were able to potter around with seaspray in our faces instead of road dust and access quiet beaches that are impossible to get to by car or scooter. Completely changed my opinion of the island. The only trouble was that we had to be back by 6.30 each evening. And it helps if you pick up your boat at the opening time of 9am, not 11.30 as we did on our first boating day.

Panos the boat hire man was brilliant at providing a crash course in boating theory and, following a practical demonstration of starting, steering and stopping, we were finally allowed out into the seven seas without supervision. But where to go? Out of the harbour and left towards Lakka? Or right towards Gaios? We chose right and headed for Gaios. Steamed down the coast no problem but things became a little more tricky on the inland waterway of the Gaios waterfront area which is more like a narrow river than open sea. Had to dodge a few massive yachts and overcrowded ships taking tourists to the beautiful beaches of Anti-Paxos. Didn't take any snaps of the bustling harbour and old buildings because I was too busy steering, throttling, cussing and praying. Eventually came out t'other end, once more into open sea, thankfully without incident, and headed for Mongonissi (excellent 'family-type' beach). Dropped anchor at the jetty (probably unnecessary) and headed for the bar. Intended to stay for a quick drink but stayed for lunch (grilled octopus and Greek salad) and had a very relaxing time. Georgie suggested champagne as it was my birthday but stuck to beer with a cheeky little vino.

Time, as ever, was marching on so we headed back, stopping off at Gaios on the way for a quck look round. Georgie decided she needed a hat. Tried loads but didn't buy. Then beach shoes (pebbly beaches are murder on the old tootsies). Quite surprised me by actually buying a pair. Another surprise was how much Gaios has changed. Seemed a lot more touristy than before. Not so 'up market'. Or maybe all the posh shops and restaurants are hidden up the back streets. Anyway, it's still a lively joint. Totally different to laid back Loggos. Quite a relief to get outa there. Next stop was a little bay where we had a quick swim. Then onwards to Loggos where Panos appeared quite relieved to see his boat still in one piece even though he did raise an eyebrow as we dropped anchor in the middle of the harbour and eventually came to a halt about thirty yards away at the jetty right in front of his office (I don't think it's necessary to drop anchor at a jetty, only in bays, but I could be wrong - I'm a biker not a boater).

Had a beer and a laaaarge g&t at my waterside bar (no waterside tables left at around 6 to 7 in the pre-dinner rush) then avoided the two big restaurants and noshed at the backstreet Four Seasons bar which is popular with the locals (when in Rome...). Had a simple birthday dinner of squid (again) with shared Greek salad. Then staggered back up that infernal track, stopping every so often to wind up the clockwork torch thingy. Being covered in mozzy bites, I had my late night scotch indoors (by now I'd twigged that these blasted insects eat you alive if you sit outside in the evening cool).

Tomorrow we aim to report at Panos' as near to 9am as possible. The early boat catches the deserted beach. Or maybe not.

Loggos holiday 1

Well, that's it, holiday over. Six whole days in a little hillside villa (with Georgie and Don) overlooking the picturesque seaside village of Loggos on the Greek isle of Paxos, with a couple of days either side for travelling. Had a fab time. Absolutely marvellous. Weather perfect (hot and sunny all week), villa fine (described as basic but seemed like a palace to me), Loggos brilliant (small and perfectly formed), natives friendly (lots of smiles and 'calameras'), and a notable absence of moronic teenagers and thumping disco music (as a newby OAP I'm now fully entitled to spout such derogatoryisms, or whatever they're called). The only downsides were the damned mozzies, a dirth of Canada Dry and the speed at which a week passes when one's having a spiffing time.

Felt a bit knackered when we first arrived there - hardly surprising after the effort of minimal packing (just a small rucksack), tidying up the house before leaving (took ages), double-checking that I had everything, dropping off the dogs, flying to Stansted, coaching to Putney, two hours kip, driving to Gatwick at 2am in Don's little Peugeot, flying to Corfu, ferrying to Paxos, and (finally) being dropped off hot, sweaty and jet-lagged at the little villa in mid-afternoon. Tea, coffee, milk and sugar were provided, plus a welcoming vino blanco in the frigo alongside a much-needed bottle of water. By about 5pm we were settled in and enjoying a nice cuppa on the verandah beneath a canopy of grape vines, surrounded by the exotic perfume of jasmine, thyme and some other smelly plant that I've now forgotten.

Had an early evening stroll down to Loggos to case the joint, have a beer or two, buy a few things from the little supermarket and have an evening meal by the harbour. All very touristy and immensely enjoyable. This venture gave us our first taste of the rocky downhill path (about a half mile long) through the olive groves that linked the villa with the village. No great problem in daytime but obviously challenging at night. Good job we took a couple of torches. Good job too that I didn't overdo the laughing juice on any of our seven soirees downtown. And good job too that the supermarket did a delivery service. Would have needed a team of donkeys to get the shopping (a six-pack of litre water bottles weighs a ton) back up that path. Slept soundly that first night.

Woke early the next day and had a 7.30 stroll back down that footpath to the village while Georgie and Don continued spouting zeds. Seemed I was the only tourist around. Had the little harbour to myself while a few locals prepared for the day ahead. Had a quiet coffee in the waterside bar (I'd adopted it as 'my bar') by the harbour entrance. Watched fishes swimming in the crystal clear sea. Went for an early morning swim on the deserted beach in the next bay. Bought a few goodies from the excellent bakery then returned home. Slowly getting the hang of that uphill path. Website says it takes about ten minutes down and around twenty up. Hah! The previous evening, with Georgie leading at a blistering pace, we ascended in eight minutes flat. And that was in the dark! This morning I decided to do it at a more leisurely pace. Took about twelve minutes. Nae bother.

Arrived back at the villa at around ten. Girlies still kipping. Both obviously shattered. Took it easy that first day. Just pottered about and nattered. Eventually hit the beach late afternoon. Quick swim in the second beach along, sundowner in 'my bar' (sea view ruined by big flashy launch called 'Blue Eyes' - Google search reveals it's an Athens based cruiser, yours to hire for a mere £95,000 per week) then supper in (outside rather) the second big harbour restaurant and another torchlit mountain trek home.

Amazing - two days gone already, just four remaining. Still, birthday treat tomorrow - boat hire.

Friday, August 19, 2011


Was just about to charge up both camera batteries in readiness for holiday trip to Paxos when I discovered a few snaps in the camera that I hadn't downloaded. Rather than delete them I thought I'd stick 'em on here, even though they're fairly run of the mill stuff: yet another dogwalk, sunny view out front and evidence of sweaty labours painting the shutters greenish. Rather like the new colour. More in harmony with the grey tones of the house than the previous white which I always felt stood out too much. However, if t'other half of our design consultation committee disagrees, I'll paint 'em white again. View out front was taken earlier this week on a wonderfully clear and sunny day. The sort of day one longs for in the depths of winter. I look forward to viewing it again in the grey chill of next February (always a numbingly dull and hugely depressing time of year). And the dogwalk..., yes, I do far too many photos of that 'lightning tree' run but every amble up there is a joy, especially in the sunshine. All too soon winter will be upon us with its pouring rain and biting winds. And, of course, Jock, Sprock and I ain't getting any younger so there'll soon come a time when our intrepid trio is reduced to a duo. Terrible thought, but at least the memories of our sunny walkies will linger on, ably supported by massive photographic documentation. Hah, enough of this doom and gloom. Holiday beckons. Better get those camera batteries charged. And dig out my swimming cozzy.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Don't really understand computers'n'stuff. However, I somehow managed to get the printer/scanner to link up with the laptop and actually do what it was told. Result: print outs of boarding passes for holiday flights this coming week-end. Then tried my luck with the scanner. After a few false starts, I managed to copy a few old photos of myself that I found hidden in a carrier bag. First one came out upside-down but at least it worked. Delirious with success I then rattled off a couple of others. Despite inevitable accusations of vanity, I shall now load 'em up and commit them to posterity. In the first one I'm looking magnifique (Victorian granny believed in beefing-up! - until Mum put her foot down and told her to get lost) aged about six months(?), presumably in early '47. In the second one (dated June '49) I'm sat on Auntie Judy's bicycle, in Cambridge, on a little saddle she rigged up on her crossbar. Been a two-wheeled speed freak ever since. And in the third one I'm with Dad in Austria, learning to ski. He was stationed out there after the war. Must have been around '48. My oh my, well over sixty years ago. I wonder if these modern digital photos will have the same degree of longevity. Somehow I doubt it.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011


As the Greek economy continues its downward spiral, increasing numbers of taramasalata and humous companies are going out of business. It's a double dip recession. - Ho, ho! Georgie told me that one last night. She tells it better than moi.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Which looks better?

Repainted ye olde front door a few days back. Was a sort of peppermint green, but is now greeny grey. Had a bit of paint left over so I thought I'd paint a couple of the white shutters as a little experiment, just to see what they looked like. Trouble is, Georgie and I have different opinions on which is better. Would be good to know what others think. So, which shutters do you prefer - the white or greeny grey?

I'm going to try something...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Couple of scorchers

So..., August already. Scary how time flies. Looking back at July, it seemed to be a rubbish month weather-wise. Certainly not what you'd expect for high summer. Mind you, the last day of July, Sunday, dawned sunny and turned out to be a scorcher. Took the opportunity to mow the lawn. Amazing how quickly the grass, weeds rather, grows after a rainy spell. Then set about doing a bit of strimming out the back. Ended up dripping with sweat. Wore a baseball cap to keep the sun off. Relaxing Sunday? Must be joking.

Monday was another scorcher. Decided to re-paint the front door. Have never been entirely happy with the light green colour so nipped up the bricolage and bought a tin of grey-green. Much better. Started sanding down and painting but, due to the door being south facing, was soon dripping with sweat (again!) despite the minimal amount of physical exertion. Had to keep going inside to cool off. Got through a couple of bottles of water. Come mid-day, I'd had enough. Watched the latter stages of the Grand Prix (boring cars) then decided to change the bed sheets. Well, the bottom one and my pillow case. Hung the duvet out the window (very French y'know). Fired up the washing machine and did a couple of loads. Hung the stuff on the washing line. Sounds relatively straight-forward but the line runs from the apple tree which is covered with wasps and hornets. All rather worrying. Returned to door painting in late afternoon. Then did a bit more strimming out back. Some of the weedy things had thick stems - bit too tough for the strimmer, so I had to pull 'em out. Twelve inch roots meant I ended up on me arse a couple of times. The joys of gardening? Must be joking.

Two sweaty days and I was stinking, even more so than normal, so I treated myself to a much-needed bath Monday evening. Yes, I know I should shower or bath more than once a month but when there's no-one around to complain, I can't be arsed. Dogs don't seem to mind. So, Monday night, clean bod, clean sheet and pillow case, aired and turned duvet, parfait. Had also washed Sprock's top sheet (he insists on kipping on my pit) and shampooed the bugger so everything smelt of roses.

Not so hot Tuesday so finished off the front door and took some junk up the skips on the edge of the hamlet. The skips are dropped off for three or four days about three times a year and very useful they are too. Always amazes me how quickly they fill up with all sorts of interesting stuff. For example, couple of years ago Roy (neighbour from next hamlet) found a discarded anvil. Being an antiques expert, he rescued it, cleaned it up then sold it on eBay for hundreds. Hard to believe but somewhere in France exists an anvil collector. However, I doubt if my rubbishy plywood door, old scanner, duff battery and various other bits of junk would be of interest to anyone. Mind you, Georgie reckons there might be a collector of old computery stuff somewhere out there who'd leap at the chance of owning an old black and white scanner such as the one that's now languishing under a ton of crap. Being the daughter of an outback Aussie, she has immense difficulty in chucking anything out, unlike moi. Always thinks stuff will eventually come in useful. Hmm...

Tuesday evening (last night), took the dogs up the cemetery run. Bit muggy with storm clouds gathering. Returned home and sat outside with my evening scotch'n'dry while last night's leftovers were being re-heated indoors. Turned windy and dark as the clouds moved in.

Sure enough, thunder and lightning at around 11pm (damn, 'Gladiator' had just started). Switched everything off, disconnected laptop and gave the dogs a quick walk in the garden. Or would have done had they not stopped in their tracks on the front step when confronted by the pouring rain and raging storm. So went to bed without late-night walkies. Dogs panicking and hyperventilating. Jock woke me up with a bark at about 4.30am. Demanded to be let out with Sprock for a wee now the storm had passed. Been up since then finalising my fantasy footy team (serious stuff - season kicks off on the 13th), checking news websites, responding to emails and writing this drivel (apologies for it being about nothing in particular - as usual - but I just wanted an excuse to show the photo of the nicely lit, newly cut lawn - click to enlarge). Anyway, this morning's dawned cloudy and grey but on the bright side it's perfect weather for painting the white shutters grey-green to match the door. Summer? Must be joking.