Let’s start by saying a belated ‘Happy New Year’!
By now, many will be wondering if we still live in Corfu! (We Do!) Do we have an excuse for slacking where our intermittent Blog posts are concerned? Well, yes and no are both valid answers! I will try to explain.
For those that don’t know or have forgotten, I retired at the age of 53 in April 2002 and we moved here during the same month. Whenever this comes up in conversation, we are often asked if we work which normally elicits a response along the lines that ‘Work’ is a dirty four-lettered word. The next question is usually something along the lines of, “Well what do you do with yourselves?” or “Life must be like one big holiday.”
The truth is that we are actually quite busy just getting on with our lives in much the same way as we would in the UK. The difference is that we do so in what we consider to be a better environment with a calmer lifestyle. You cannot believe how hectic and pressurised we feel during our brief forays back to the UK. We forget what a pace life is lived at there. Nobody seems to have time for anybody else. Total strangers will stop and speak here if only to comment on the weather or to tell us that we are doing something wrong! As an example, you would think that we have never had gardens before!
This brings me back to our (my) tardiness when it comes to producing a newsletter / Blog post. The truth is that we just get on with our lives and it is all pretty much the same as anyone else’s. Having said that, we do have our ups and downs and so, I guess that as 2015 has drawn to a close, we had better update everyone. Here goes …
We should remind everyone that Greece is still in a state of severe austerity. Whatever you think you have experienced in the UK by way of austerity does not compare. It is against this background that our year commenced with what has become something of a tradition for us – seeing in the new year at Maistro Taverna in Acharavi. It was nowhere near as packed as previous years but as this is the second largest celebration in the year, only surpassed by Easter, those there were determined to enjoy themselves.
As was to be expected, there was a lot of snow about on the mountains of Albania and Northern Greece. Consequently, when the wind was blowing towards us from Albania, it was quite cold. Thankfully we had both a log fire and central heating! This will give a clue as to what it was like.
One of the nice things about Corfu out of season is that we can get out and about and photograph places without the crowds that descend during the summer season. It may be cold (by our standards) but it is often sunny as these pictures show. Irises are amongst our earliest wild flowers. We visited places all over the island during January both in the north and south. However, winter is not all sunshine and by the end of the month we were being reminded of this fact as this photo shows.
The truth of the matter is that the weather was quite kind to us throughout the year and it must be said that December’s weather was really good. It may have been cool but at least it was sunny.
Our year was tinged with sadness and joy. Firstly, we learned that my uncle Les passed away on 6th February. He had suffered a fall and was apparently recovering but suffered unexpected complications. This was totally unexpected and given that he was one of the strongest men I had ever met, it was a great shock.
Shortly after this on 18th February, our son, David and Daughter-in-law presented us with our latest grandson, Jacob. As is frequently said in these circumstances, mother and son are doing well!
During the year, we had many friends visit the island. It is always good to catch up with them. Amongst them was our old friend, Daphne who visited along with several members of her family. It was wonderful to see her again.
Whilst Tricia was in the UK during June, I met up with an old childhood friend, Ray Hazelden and his brother Alan, along with their respective wives, Michelle and Viv. Ray and Michelle had been visiting his family in the UK from Australia and had decided to take a short cruise as they were fed up with the weather in the UK! The cruise stopped off in Corfu and so we had time for a couple of drinks and lunch. This was only the second time in about fifty years that we had seen each other.
Again in June, we met up with friends, Alan and Pauline who had returned to the UK a couple of years previously. It was evident that Pauline was very unwell. We were so pleased to see them both as sadly, Pauline passed away on 27th September.
Our daughter Louise found employment assisting with the implementation of a tolling system at the Humber bridge, shortly after having been made redundant. It is always worrying whenever anyone loses their job. Fortunately Louise’s experience paid dividends to the point where she formed her own company. It is relatively early days but things seem to be going well.
Son-in-law, Steve managed a short stay with us in June. Louise was busy working and so it was a solo visit! Corinna, Dave, Rebecca, Ryan and Maggie visited in August. Summer was really hectic!
After a lot of consideration, I have decided not to bore everyone with a year’s blow by blow account and have decided instead to provide a photo album which should give the interested reader an idea of our year in pictures! This album is available here.
Take care everyone! we promise to try harder this year!
Bob & Tricia
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