Archive | October, 2013


26 Oct



With the BBC talking about winds of 80mph and Passage Weather’s maps turning purple, you can perhaps understand my relief when I got the phone call from Neil to say all Brittany Ferries’ crossing had been cancelled for Sunday. So it’s now Wednesday before we can cross to Spain. It means we lose out on the hotel we’d booked before taking our apartment but it seems a small price to pay to me. Much as they might warn of uprooted trees and the threat to power cables I couldn’t be happier to be staying on dry(ish) land. 



Ferry Bad Weather

25 Oct


I’m almost packed and ready to head off to Spain for the winter. Just about the whole contents of the wardrobe along with a mountain of food supplies and toiletries that are either expensive or difficult to get hold of in Spain are piled up and standing by to be loaded into the car. I’m just waiting for the thunderstorm to subside. Now there’s the rub. The weather.

We have a ferry to catch on Sunday amid dire warnings of the storm conditions that are approaching the British Isles. The worst storm since the 1980’s according to the Mirror. Surely they’ll cancel the ferry, thinks I. Oh no, says the Caravan Talk forum, they’ll happily go out in a force 9. I’ve been trying to reassure myself that at least we’ve got a cheap interior cabin where the motion will be less than on the more expensive exterior cabins.

So there was definitely a feeling of relief when I got a broken call from an annoyed Neil to say the ferry had indeed been cancelled. Until I got home and read the email, that is. Yes, the ferry had been cancelled but not because of the weather but due to “a technical difficulty on board” and we’d been offered a place on the sailing from Portsmouth to Bilbao. Not only that we had been upgraded to an exterior cabin. Lucky us. Oh, and this is a two night crossing with a stopover in Roscoff. Agghh!! 




19 Oct

Back at home now, I’m enjoying looking at the pictures of our week in Crete. So I thought I’d share some:


The wild cats of Ag Nik look surprisingly well nourished and looked after. Apart from the scraps they scrounge from the restaurants someone is obviously feeding them. Here they are some eating dried cat food by the bottomless lake.


It was so good to be swimming in the sea again. Neil went in off the back of the boat when we went on a trip to the island of Spinalonga.


Spinalonga, once a leper colony, has now become a popular tourist attraction perhaps largely as it featured in the book “The Island” by Victoria Hislop which was also adapted for a very popular Greek television series. At this time of year, at least, it still remains a rather desolate and haunting place.


The layers of misty mountains behind whitewashed buildings set on a shimmering and silvery sea is the image I will always have in my head when I think of sailing in Greece.

Fish Spa Couple

We had to try it. We’d seen fish spas before and rather fancied the idea so this was our opportunity.

Fish Therapy

It’s a weird sensation and I’m not entirely convinced it does any good but we both persuaded ourselves that our feet felt softer after being nibbled by dozens of little fish. Well, why not?

Well, We Needed a Holiday…

12 Oct


Like Mary Poppins we have to leave when the wind changes. With the warm southerly that had dominated Britain’s weather for the last week changing to a cold northerly and the temperature dropping 8 degrees overnight, it was good timing, then, to be heading for the airport in the early hours of Thursday morning. As a rosy sun rose over the roads of Manchester, still not at rush hour capacity, our Easyjet ‘plane to Crete lifted off the runway. 

A four hour flight of screaming toddlers (well, one toddler, actually, the others were remarkably good) we were landing in 24 degrees of warm sunshine at Heraklion. Our hold luggage was one of the first to come up on the conveyor belt and we found the desk for the airport transfer company quickly and easily so we thought our luck was really in. Needless to say it all went pear-shaped from there. Over an hour later we were still sitting on the bus in the airport waiting for other passengers.

When it finally pulled away we still thought we could be in Ag Nik (Agios Nikolaos) for an afternoon swim.  Oh, no. The 45 minute journey took nearly two hours with the bus constantly turning off at every single little junction en route. This was like the package holidays of old when the coach drops off everybody else at their hotels before you. When we finally arrived in Ag Nik the bus driver must have decided he’d had enough himself and just dropped us in the town square, vaguely pointing up a side road and telling us to walk the rest of the way! Ah well, we’ve seen a bit of the island anyway. 

The following day more than made up for any hassle, though. Beautiful weather, a walk around the “bottomless” lake, a chat with Paul on Carmel (Ag Nik looks a superb place to over-winter although shower facilities are poor) and a very pleasant afternoon swim, the sea still at a comfortable temperature even this late in the season. Oh, and beer and pizza for lunch. Diet? What diet?


The so-called Bottomless Lake in Agios Nikolaos


5 Oct



God I’m hungry. I’ve been trying not to think about it but I wanted everyone to know. I’M HUNGRY!

After the, shall we say, over-indulgence of the summer, it seemed like a good idea to shift a few pounds before heading to Spain for the winter with it’s wonderful Menu del dias, tasty tapas and tempting wines (you can tell I’m hungry, right?). Coming across the 5-2 Diet for the first time (we’ve been away) we thought we’d give it a try.

For those of you who, like us, have been on another planet recently the 5-2 diet consists of two days of ‘fasting’ per week and eating normally for the rest of the time. On fasting days you can actually have up to 500 calories (for women, 600 for the men – not fair). Now 500 calories is not a lot of food. Basically you get to eat salad leaves and cabbage. Ok, I’m exaggerating a bit, but only a bit. I tell you, wafer thin ham at 10 calories a slice has never tasted so good.


As for breakfast, well, there aren’t enough calories for breakfast. I’m not a person who skips breakfast. I’m not good without breakfast. In fact it is best not to talk to me until after breakfast. And I’ve been hungry all night anticipating this absence. Honestly, my stomach has been rumbling away before the fast day even starts! Never mind, only three and a half hours until a few mls of pea and asparagus soup. Yum.

This isn’t my first fasting day. Oh no. I’ve already survived two days last week. Neil says he’s lost 4 or 5lbs. I haven’t. I’ve lost nothing. Zilch. Nada. I’m going to buy some new scales.