The Trip — 2016: Part 17 — Recovery and Relaxing

About seven-thirty this morning Di got up and I helped her to the loo and then to get dressed. Kathy was already up and recovered; Don was recovered as well. Kit, it turned out, had been well enough to get in the taxi last night and make his plane (at least, we haven’t heard anything from him to the contrary . . . yet). Trish, however, has been touch and go most of the day — although now, about seven-thirty in the evening, she seems well.

Trip -Moon from Villa Andonis
Moon from Villa Andonis

Helen arrived an hour or so ago without her son, Theo, who decided he was having so much fun rowing that he’d rather stay with his team and friends than visit with this fifty-five plus group of relatives and his aunt’s friends. (Can’t say I blame him.)

Di’s been down at the pool most of the afternoon; I did my swimming this morning rather than come out in the heat of the day. It only got up into the eighties today and there has been a constant breeze — enough to blow windows open and closed in the villa and I’ve seen whitecaps on the sea.

Kathy, Don and Becka caught the 2:30 pm bus to Corfu city and went sightseeing (don’t know when they’re scheduled to come back). Helen brought Di some Twiglets and Lapsang Souchong tea — UGH, but she’s happy about it. Helen and Trish walked down the hill to Nissaki to rent a car for tomorrow and bring back more bread and milk. They plan for the four of us to go out to lunch and then for the three girls to do some shopping while I park myself in a taverna and enjoy a beer or two or three rather than having to accompany Di like I usually do — I can do that.

The tourist party to Corfu made it back about dinnertime here — nine. They enjoyed themselves and made several trips by bus in and around town.

We shared dinner, wine, stories and Bananagram games — a good evening.

Got up about eight-thirty this morning. Don, Kathy and Becka left a bit after nine to again catch a bus and do touristy things. Trish and Helen went to get the rental car for this evening’s outing. Spent the morning by the pool “filming” a fledgling being fed by a parent. And I then had a swim with a timeout for the pool guy to do his thing. Then back in the pool to complete my laps — this is the only real exercise I get here. — Feeding at Villa Andonis

Spent some time reading on the computer, the Register and the Times and began reading The Bedlam Boyz. Lunch was provided by Helen and Trish, who, along with Di, played several games of Bananagrams. Next a shower and this update before we go out. Ahhhh . . .

Trip - The Cat in The Loom (Bowl)
The Cat in The Loom (Bowl)

Change of plans — Di decided not to go sightseeing and so we are going down to the Nissaki harbor area for dinner at the Mitsos Taverna and for Di to go shopping at The Loom just across the “street” from the taverna at the end of the road. Trish still rented the car for two days.

Got down to the harbor area and got unloaded as Trish parked the car a ways up the hill. Di had a workout getting up to The Loom’s actual shopping area, a dozen or more steps above the street. One of the women loaned her chair to Di until I brought up her “wheelie.” Di sat there and then began to move around and shop. Helen said they’d need about forty minutes; I guessed at least an hour and fretted about it being two.

As they began to shop I went down the stairs to the taverna and ordered a Corfu Red Ale. I nursed it for an hour and waited further — until I was joined by the women after a successful “gathering.” We were seated at a nice table by the water and proceeded to have wine, befores and dinner. While at dinner the wanderers returned and, being quite tired, decided not to join us — except for Becka who came down quite manic.

Trip - Becka at Nissaki beach
Becka at Nissaki beach

Dinner was good, again. I enjoyed a Greek shrimp dish for a before and then had their version of seafood pasta — ate all but one bite of the pasta. Everyone else seemed to enjoy their meal and wine. Becka also went for a swim between befores and the main course.

It was then into the car and back up to the villa, a few games of Bananagrams and to bed.

(to be continued)

The Trip — 2016: Part 16 — “Adventure”

Last night was the most comfortable of our stay. We caught the southern edge of a front crossing Europe and had some clouds and a very nice breeze. Today dawned cool and breezy with clouds. The temperature in the sun, without cloud cover, is still brutal, however.

Trip - Cara, Lola and Kit at Nissaki Beach
Cara, Lola and Kit at Nissaki Beach

Charlie got up a bit earlier than ususal and I was able to get my swim in before Kathy and Don rose. Trish, Ivy and David drove to the market and David drove back with the groceries while the two ladies walked back for some exercise.

Don and I later walked to the market for exercise and to get some more milk, as we were about out — Di has to have some milk for her tea. We also picked up a newspaper and some soft drinks. The price came to €10.60 and I gave the cashier €15.00. She didn’t want to make change, however, so she only took the €10 note and I now owe her €0.60.

Charlie’s former student, Becka, is supposed to arrive some time before we go to dinner — she’s landed and we’re just waiting for her taxi to appear; our dinner reservation is for 7:30 pm and we’ll probably be a couple of hours. Ahhh . . . relaxing with good food and good friends.

Trip - Nissaki Beach from Mitsos Taverna
Nissaki Beach from Mitsos Taverna

Well, Becka showed up before we left for dinner and we showed her around the villa. She took a few minutes to rest in her room and then we talked a bit and went to dinner. David drove Di and I to the restaurant and found a place to park the car. The remainder of our party walked from the villa.

Di had wanted to browse at The Loom, the shop across from the taverna, but to the consternation of all it had closed early for the day. There weren’t many people in the taverna either nor at the beach. Ah hah, the winds had blown in seaweed and grass to the beach making it difficult to swim — I guess that accounted for the small crowd.

Trip - Joe and Di at Mitsos Taverna
Joe and Di at Mitsos Taverna

At any rate, we had our table for eleven in a beautiful spot and sat down. David and I had a beer, Di a Fanta lemonade; we also ordered water and wine. A few minutes later the walkers arrived, found seats (with Kathy sitting next to Di and Becka across the table from her). We talked for a while, took pictures, ordered starters and proceeded to enjoy the atmosphere and company.

Dinner consumed, the dessert course arrived: vanilla ice cream and espresso for four, chocolate and vanilla ice cream for the girls, ouzo for four and I had a brandy . . . ahhhh. The trip back to the villa was the reverse of the trip to the taverna. Soon after returning most of us went to bed, but Don and Kathy stayed up trying to get in sync with the local time zone.

Trip - Lola, Becka, Ivy and Cara walking to dinneer
Lola, Becka, Ivy and Cara walking to dinneer

This Sunday morning actually dawned cool and breezy. I had a nice swim and the coffee and . . . then it rained. Yes, it rained — for about ten minutes and then again a while later. David, Ivy and the girls left for the airport a bit before noon — they’ll next spend a week in Provence before heading back to the US. Kit leaves for the UK tonight.

Well . . . there is a definition of adventure which goes something like an event best experienced in the retelling rather than in the occurring — and, of course, you’d much rather hear from a friend who experienced it rather than your own experience from your own lips. . . well, today we had an adventure.

Trip - Di, Kathy, Don, Cara, Lola, Kit, Ivy, David, Tricia, Becka (and Joe behind the camera)
Di, Kathy, Don, Cara, Lola, Kit, Ivy, David, Tricia, Becka (and Joe behind the camera)

An hour or two after David, Ivy and the girls had left, we had lunch. Some salad, some leftovers, some bread and cheese. One of the leftover dishes was a lentil concoction . . . to some it tasted good, others, my wife, not so good. I’d had a cold spoonful from the fridge the night before and had some more of the re-heated remainder for lunch.

Of the seven of us at lunch five of us had the lentils — all five of us came down with “food poisoning.” Don, Kathy, Kit, Trish felt it early and I felt ill a couple of hours later. I barely made it to the throne room where the lentils went up and out. An hour later I again lost some more lentils. An hour later, again. This time it was mostly dry heaves, but no less painful and miserable. I crashed in bed and remained there for the next twelve hours or so.

During that time, Kit came in to find our Pepto supply Di had told him about. Someone also came in for Di’s night meds and I had to get out of bed and get these. Eventually Di came to bed, helped by Becka (who, like Di, hadn’t eaten any of the lentils).

(to be continued)

The Trip — 2016: Part 15 — Goings and Comings

The following day David rented a small boat to take his family, Helen and her daughters on outing up the coast. They were gone for most of the afternoon and returned early in the evening — the little girls tired and worn out. Helen, Eleanor and Holly were picked up by George, the taxi driver, a bit after eight for their ride to the airport and flight back to England. Helen will return in a few days with her son, Theo (her husband, Richard, is in Africa on business and cannot make it).

Trip - View from Taverna Agni
View from Taverna Agni

We’re all going to Mitsos Taverna for dinner at seven tonight — I’m quite looking forward to it: SEAFOOD.

Tomorrow afternoon, Kathy Hunsberger and her husband, Don, are arriving. Di’s schedule shows them staying for a week and flying back to London with us when our stay here on Corfu is over. And, yes, we will be going places with them in Oxford and London before returning to the US on the third of next month.

Dinner at the taverna was quite good — including the pizza and pasta for the two girls. I had the same octopus and seafood plate I’d had the previous time while Di and Trish had something different.

Trip - They're off . . .
They’re off . . .

Kit, Cara and Lola went swimming. (Cara forgot to bring her swimsuit so Trish bought her a tee in the gift shop across the street — that and her knickers served her well.)

Well, tomorrow arrived and so did a text message from Kathy. Their plane was delayed for three hours in New York, so they missed their connecting flight at Heathrow for Corfu.

I got up about eight and Dora was already cleaning the outside. I got Charlie up and went swimming. Before getting into the pool I took a shower but the water wasn’t running. Dora saw me (it was the outdoor shower for before and after swimming) and said that the water supply for the neighborhood was off — delayed maintenance delayed too long and something broke. Before I could say anything else she told me not to worry as there was a storage tank under the villa — good for a month of water for our use. It’s half full and will last our stay even if repairs on the neighborhood system are not quickly forthcoming.

Trip - George

The day went well.

BA was going to put Don and Kathy up overnight and on the Saturday flight for Corfu — but the Saturday plane for Corfu was already booked full. So . . . they were flown to Athens where they got a flight to Corfu and arrived here at the villa about eleven-thirty.

After getting them settled, we talked on the patio for about an hour and went to bed. Kathy and Don, who were not sleepy owing to their mussed up day, stayed up as we retired.

(to be continued)

The Trip — 2016: Part 14 — Fixing Problems and Taverna Agni

Morning arrives. Coffee, coffee, coffee. About eight the “pool guy” arrives and the day begins. Dora is also here and cleaning outside. She shows me what she has brought for the shower and I tell her that it is the right stuff. (Kit’s not up yet and she doesn’t want to wake him to check.) She also says that the plumber will be here between one and two this afternoon after he has finished a big morning job. The electrician will arrive about the same time.

The morning proceeds without incident and the plumber arrives about eleven and soon has the problem fixed.

Trip - Lola, David, Ivy and Cara in Nissaki Harbor.
Lola, David, Ivy and Cara in Nissaki Harbor.

We get ready for an outing today — we’re going by boat to a restaurant about fifteen minutes, by boat, further up the east coast of Corfu for a late lunch and some time in the sun and water. (One of David’s friends had recommended it.) The boat will pick us up at the Nissaki harbor.

After we’ve got our stuff together a little after one, David drives Trish, Di and I down to the harbor entrance and drops us off because Di is unable to walk either the hills or distance. We sit in the shade to await the arrival of everyone else (there are eleven of us) as they are walking from the villa.

Trip - Di and Joe at Taverna Agni
Di and Joe at Taverna Agni

I find the boat driver and we move our, too much, stuff to, and he places it in, the boat. Eventually, everyone arrives walks to the boat moored on the far side of the harbor. I’d looked earlier and decided to have Di walk up the three steps to the taverna and then wheel her through the taverna and then have her walk down the seven steps to the harbor rather than try to navigate the standard walk to the harbor. It’s a few more steps but they’re normal steps rather than the uneven large steps and uneven concrete of the shorter route.

A few minutes more and we’re off.

The trip is quick and we pass several large hotels and beaches enroute. Villas dot the landscape. We enter a cove with several boats moored to buoys, a dock for perhaps a dozen small boats in front of three tavernas including the one we are having lunch at — Taverna Agni.

Trip - Coastal hotel along the way.
Coastal hotel along the way.

Getting off is the reverse of getting on except that we leave some of the beach stuff in the boat. The only problem is that the beach and about fifteen feet between the end of the pier and the tavern are gravely and pebbly — impossible for Di to use her wheelie on. So, it’s Di, her cane and one of us on her other arm to get to and up to the taverna. We leave David’s rucksack, stroller and Di’s wheelie in front of the taverna as our table is right in front and next to the entry.

Trip - Approach to Taverna Agni
Approach to Taverna Agni

Our table has been reserved so we are seated immediately. Di is at the head of the table, facing the beach and sea, and the other ten of us are seated on the sides. Water and wine are ordered immediately and menus are brought and cogitated over. There is no rush — the meal lasts about four hours — and nothing happens in a hurry here. The restaurant is half to three-quarters full when we arrive and just about empty when we leave. The reserved signs on the newly re-set tables when we leave are all for seven or eight-thirty or so — a large lunch crowd, a large dinner crowd and little in between, is my guess (at least during the week).

Trip - Taverna Agni Menu
Taverna Agni Menu

Several starters are ordered and shared around the table; Di has a tasty Greek salad for herself. Some of us then order our own dinners and some share a couple of orders of mussels and chips. David’s little girls, having consumed several pieces of bread, butter and humus are off swimming with their mother to return during the meal. Remember, this is happening over a four-hour period.

Charlie has a Lamb Pot. (The lamb is excellent as I find out when she cannot finish the last two bites.) I have their Seafood Platter — anchovies, octopus, mussels, prawns, calamari — an excellent dinner, especially, since I had avoided the starters and bread consumed by everyone else over the previous two or more hours.

Trip - Holly, David, Ivy, Kit, Tricia
Holly, David, Ivy, Kit, Tricia

There is a sweet dessert wine and dessert for those who want it. David’s girls have an apple fritter with vanilla ice cream and chocolate ice cream. It looks so good that Di and Trish order the same and split it. No, I didn’t have any dessert; my seafood had been quite good and I didn’t feel the need to be rolled down the taverna steps after we were done.

Five o’clock rolled around and we adjourned to the beach. A real “pebble” beach right in front of the three tavernas in the bay. I sat at one of the taverna’s beach tables in front rather than bake in the sun or under a parasol — the temperature has been in the high eighties to low nineties every day we’ve been here.

Trip - Cara, Lola Helen, Eleanor
Cara, Lola, Helen, Eleanor

It took a few minutes to get Di into the water — the pebbles and stones of the beach were slippery and difficult to walk on but we got her in and out a couple of times and she enjoyed her swimming.

David, who paid for the boat and dinner, had to wait forty-five minutes to get the check to pay. Like I said above, no one was in any kind of a hurry here. (Yes, the food had been hot, that was hurried to the table when it was ready.)

We re-boarded our “water taxi” for the ride home about seven and took a little detour north to Gerald Durrell’s White House before turning south. Fifteen minutes later, after a refreshing ride, we arrived back at Nissaki harbor and disembark. Trish, Di and I have a drink in the taverna, two lemonades and a beer, while the others walk up to the villa. As I finish my beer, David arrives back with the car and we load up and back to the villa — a very nice day indeed.

Trip - The White House Taverna
The White House Taverna

(to be continued)

The Trip — 2016: Part 13 — David’s Family Arrives; More Plumbing

David, Di’s brother, and his family (Ivy and their two girls, Lola and Cara) arrived a little after two Sunday afternoon just as we were finishing lunch. A quick tour of the villa, a bite to eat and drink and the girls changed and headed for the pool — where they are playing as I type.

Trip - Fun in the pool.
Fun in the pool.

Helen made some lemonade and David, after spending some time with his girls in the pool, trotted down the hill to another taverna with televisions — think sports bar — to watch some of the Wimbledon Men’s Final and the Euro 2016 Final between Portugal and France. I may drop in later, but Trish wants me for “mule” service as we need more bottled water with ten of us here. (And, do I really need to watch another sports event on television and have another beer or two? Well, maybe the beer.)

Trish, Ivy, the girls and I walked down to the taverna and walked in just as match point arrived and Murray won Wimbledon. We had a drink, left and did a bit of shopping before returning to our villa.

David and I watched the end of the first half and the second half of the Euro 2016 final between Portugal and France on Greek (in Greek) television after dinner. Gahd, what a boring game — two teams trying not to lose rather than trying to win. Eventually, in overtime, Portugal won 1 – 0.

Kit, Trish’s son, was supposed to arrive a bit after ten in the evening and did arrive around eleven-thirty.

Trip - Fun in the pool, too.
Fun in the pool, too.

Monday was uneventful, until after 11:00 pm, that is. Kit comes running up from his room and “says” that his bathroom is flooding — he can’t shut off the water in his shower. Get Joe is the consensus. So Joe goes down stairs and takes a look.

Yes, the bathroom is beginning to flood. No, Joe cannot shut off the water. But . . . Joe does take the shower hose and hangs it out of the open window and the threat of flooding is now over. Hmmmm . . . what to do?

Well, let’s see what the real problem is. Hot water faucet . . . hot water turns off. Cold water faucet . . . cold water faucet just keeps on turning. At least we now know where the problem is.

However, we don’t know where the water shut-off valve is, although I suspect it is behind the panel next to the loo (toilet) — there is a similar panel in all of the other bathrooms. Emergency call to the villa’s owner. Yes, the shut-off is next to the loo (please remember, everyone I’m with is British). Kit turns off the water valve next to the loo — No, Kit, that’s the water valve for the loo, not the one for the sink and shower.

The valve panel is held on by two large Phillips-head screws — screws that have been painted over, on and into the panel. Besides, I don’t have access to any tools, even a screwdriver. Hmmm . . . time to get a dinner/butter knife.

I run up to the kitchen and get a knife. A minute later the screws are off and the Panel is open. There are eight connections behind the panel, nothing is labeled and there is only one RED valve handle. I try to turn the handle — no go — it’s frozen shut. Meanwhile, water is still gushing out the showerhead hose outside the window.

Trip - Greek to me.
Greek to me.

The owners’ mother shows up — she lives closer than the owner. She looks at the problem and tries to close the valve and has no more luck than I had. She, however, has a key to the maintenance shed and returns with a 10-inch crescent wrench — and has no more success than we’d had with our hands. She now uses the wrench as a hammer and after several bangs has the valve handle loosened sufficiently to turn off the water.

It is now after midnight and close to one. She phones her daughter and explains the situation. Daughter will bring a new shower set when she comes to clean later in the morning and will have a plumber install it while she is here. Oh, in addition, she is told by another of us that the AC in David and Ivy’s bedroom isn’t working properly and is dripping water. Yes, she will have the electrician over too.

Ahhh . . . time to go to bed.

(to be continued)