Gary and Sandra Chapter 2

  Visitors Season Over

Well visitors’ season now finished mid October, Brother-in-law and friend left after spending a month with us.  Took them to all of our favourite places plus let them use the car to go off exploring on their own.  The weather was excellent for all of their time here. 

We had many evening meals out and one of the best was in Zaros where we ate with the locals, had a variety of food, half of which we did not know and the bill came to 35 Euros, not bad for five of us.

Had a real surprise when we went to Kokinos Pirgos, we had just come out of a local taverna and was returning to the car park and as we rounded the corner near the harbour what should be stood in the road but a pelican.  I never realised how big they are.  One of the locals came over and moved it onto the grass verge, it seemed to know him so am wondering if he is a fixture.  As ‘sod’s law would have it I did not have my camera, but John did and he has promised to send the picture of the pelican to me.


Have started work finishing off various projects started before our visitors arrived, painting outside of house, painting wall around the garden and generally tidying up small areas outside.  Also made curtains in a heavier material for the lounge.  Even if we had not had guests I don’t think we would have got much done during the summer as it was just too hot to work through June, July and August.

We have harvested all the walnuts under Stellios’s guidance and in mid October he summoned us to collect our grapes as we were about to make wine.  We spent two days cutting the grapes, reds and whites.  Stellios has a huge urn, like to ones you see in Knossos, and this was washed out ready for the juice, it also had a small hole down near the bottom and this was plugged with a wooden peg.  Well the fun started when Gary had to crush the grapes, a large laundry bowl was placed on the ground, inside this was placed a metal bucket with loads of holes and into this went the grapes and Gary (feet fully washed).  It took a good part of the day to exact the juice which was placed in the urn together with the pulp.  After just three days the juice was transferred via the hole in the bottom of the urn to the wine barrels.  The wine barrels are not sealed for a couple of weeks, just covered with fine gauze to stop the flies getting in.  Stellios told us it would be ready to drink in 30 days!!!

Took Zaros (the dog this time) to the vets for here final injection and booked up to have her spayed the following week.  The appointment was arranged for 6pm in the evening and I had assumed she would be kept there overnight - wrong, we were to collect her in a hour and a half.  Very different than in the UK,  the vet here has to run her surgery from her shop entirely on her own, I asked if she had an assistant but she said no, that she did have but they left and she couldn’t find a replacement, it seems veterinary assistants are very had to find in Crete.  Anyway Gary helped by holding the dog whilst the vet gave her an injection to put her out before the op.  We then left to have a coffee.  When we returned the op was over and Zaros was just coming round a little, the vet gave her a pain killer and plastic bucket for over her head to stop her licking the wound and that was it, back to the car and home by just after eight.  Spent a restless night just keeping an eye on her but she was very good and the next morning although obviously sore and still a little groggy she duly went out to spend a penny, although we had to carry her up and down the steps.  Within a few days she was back to her old self and the bucket didn’t seem to bother her at all.  Stitches out just a week later.

First week in November Gary still swimming at Matala, water still very warm and daytime temperatures still in the 70’s.  Only two bars and one restaurant now open here.

Have had a little rain but mainly overnight which is great.  Second crop of tomatoes now well on the way, broad beans planted together with onions, there seems to be two growing seasons here.

Still being made very welcome in the bars, shops etc in Agioi Deka, I am getting quite good in the butchers now, have sorted out which flour is self raising, after several tries and its nice having people wave and nod their heads as you pass by.  I think they now realised we are here for good not just for the summer.  They think it is funny seeing Gary still walking around in his sandals and no socks.  Stellios thinks he is crazy working in the garden with no shirt on, it is the third week in November and Stellios has on two shirts and a jumper.  Gary got quite a welcome at Lefteris bar the other night he had on his black trousers and black shirt and they said he is now one of them and is Cretan.

Have found a nice little taverna in Vagionia where they have live music on Saturday evenings, one playing bouzouka and one playing the mandolin.  Have a feeling we will be spending a few Saturday evenings there.

The new supermarket, Lydl, which is suppost to be ready to open in November is really taking shape now but I think it is going to be December before the doors open.

Had a nice surprise yesterday Tuesday 21st November, sun still very warm, Stellios came round at lunchtime with pork meat, potatoes, bread and a bottle of homemade wine, I was despatched to the kitchen whilst he made Mum comfortable at the table on the terrace outside.  We all sat eating and drinking together, very little english, a little greek and a little german but we had a good laugh and Mum said that it was the most drink she has had since coming to Crete.  He went home when the wine was finished and with a gift of my home made muffins.

Can see snow on the furthest mountains to the north now, must have happened a few days ago.  We are now into the unknown as we have never been on Crete in November, December and January so will let you all know how we get on in ‘winter’.



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