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Life in Rhodes III

April 26, 2017

So it is Easter already and since the last update there is not a lot to report.  I have been working hard on my Greek, Brian has been working hard on the boat and in between there hasn’t been a lot going on!

Lindos Acropolis

It was such a relief to get Alixora out of that awful marina and onto dry land.  With an eye to having to do a fair amount of work on the inside of the boat, we hired a car for a week and spent several days packing boxes (amazingly an excellent box shop just down the road) with stuff we would not need for our summer cruise as well as storing books and charts that we would not need this year.  I had organised with Per Kjellkvist to rent storage space in his workshop.  Micke (friend from the marina) had put me in touch with him earlier.  The business is called “The Workshop” and offers boat fixing labour as well as an equipped workshop that you can rent to carry out your own work if you want.  He has created some storage facilities in the roofspace, dry and safe!  Which is perfect for us – enough space for boxes of our winter gear and hopefully the bikes once we set off.

Yellow meadow near A1 shipyard

One day we headed over to the main road down the middle of Rhodes to hunt for the big DIY shop Practiker and also to find IKEA where I wanted to order some new bed linen.  After eight years we really needed new sheets and towels! We found a road across the fields which were covered in yellow blossom – lovely.  Practiker did what it said on the box.  We picked up a few things then headed down to IKEA.  It is just an order centre, but you can place and order and it gets fulfilled in a week or so.  I didn’t have my list with me and the staff weren’t particularly helpful, so I left it that day, returning a couple of days later while we still had the car to place the order. The woman on the cash desk assured me that the order would arrive in a week and be delivered for an additional few euros.

Wedding cake! Rhodes centre

Brian then started dismantling a few things on the boat.  He had to take down the side panelling in the saloon to get at the bolts holding the damaged fairlead in place.  Of course, the nuts were a “Beneteau custom” type, so had to be cut off and new bolts and nuts sorted out.  Eventually, after trying to get a few competitive quotes and failing, the insurance company agreed with the price that A1 Yachting had got for us to repair the fairleads.  The guy would have to remove the forestay to get the front fairlead off, so that caused a few headaches too – the cables that hold the mast in place all had to be loosened off to enable him to get the forestay off, so we had to wait for good weather, firstly to take off the sail (genoa) and then to do the work.

30’s buildings, Rhodes centre

Eventually it got done, and it took him a week to repair the aluminium casting.  I have yet to take a picture of it!  Then everything had to be loosened off again to get the forestay back on again but we will put the genoa back on when we are back in the water.  We will get some of the costs back from the insurers.

While Brian was working on the boat he saw the huge hydrofoil being moved out of the way to the side of the yard.  Several more boats have been lifted and the place is getting relatively busy!

One of the holes to repair

I managed to spend a few days repairing the damage on our dinghy cover, and then repairing and making new fender covers.  The sewing machine was one of the things we brought back to the apartment while we had the car, and it can go into storage later.  Unfortunately, the handle on the cover of the sewing machine broke off as we manhandled it out of its hole on the boat.  I took it to Micke (specialises in metal work) who made a fantastic new handle for it – very pretty.

New sewing machine handle

When the side panelling of the saloon came off, the headlining came down too.  Brian spent a good while cleaning it all up, and I then spent a day gluing it back in place!  The other side needs doing too, really, but it will have to wait for another time as it is more complicated with lots of things having to be dismantled in order to do it.

In the middle of March, Susie (Micke’s partner) had got a new bike and I arranged to go on a short bike trip with her.  It was a sunny day but a rather biting cold wind.  We managed to circumnavigate the top end of the island, round by the aquarium, then back into town and headed for the moat around the walls where it was sheltered from the wind.  Amazingly Susie had never been round the moat, so we stopped for pictures.  Around one of the bastions we heard a strange oboe like noise and found a young man testing the pipes of a set of bagpipes!  We asked him to play something and Susie joined in, dancing to the music.  What an extraordinary and magic meeting.

The week before, the heavens had opened and we had rain continuously for four or five days.  Brian got soaked through a couple of times and eventually stayed home for a few days.  However he wanted to get some stuff from the chandlery and set off in the rain.  Unfortunately, once he had concluded his transaction there and set off back home, his wallet must have fallen out of his pocket.  He retraced his steps with no success, so we had to cancel all our credit and some debit cards.  Oh dear.  We got new ones back in a few weeks, with his sister sending them to us by recorded delivery, but it was a real nuisance.  Then a guy rang up saying he had found the wallet – minus cash of course – and kindly brought it down to us.  Ah well.

Local people said they had never experienced such a long period of rain and wind before. We had a visitor for the rainy days – a huge grasshopper.  We called it Gregory.  It sheltered under the almond tree branches, clinging on for dear life.  Once the rain had gone, Gregory disappeared too!

Gregory clinging on

The last week of March Brian saw sand martins swooping across the shipyard, and I saw and heard swifts screaming in the sky.  They were closely followed by swallows and ordinary martins – spring was arriving!  The almond flowers (not many) came out and now the almonds are growing like mad.

Almonds on our tree

Two weeks had passed and no sign of my IKEA order.  After a failed phone call I went to the pharmacy next door.  The lady there had been introduced as a friend of Gina who lives upstairs from us.  She called IKEA for me, and organised for the purchases to be delivered to her shop that evening – our apartment is difficult to find.  After four more days of more calls and more Greek invective, the package finally arrived!  The pharmacist lifted her eyes to heaven and said “only in Greece”!

Planted screens

I mentioned that I had been working on my Greek.  At the end of February, I made contact with a young woman who teaches Greek and lives about 20 minutes’ walk from our house.  We worked out a schedule of two one hour lessons a week to start with.  She has been great and has kept me working hard.  Her name is Areti (Αρετη), and she teaches both private lessons and at a language school some distance away.  I have done a lot of writing since being her pupil, but not enough speaking of course.  She will continue to coach me through email while we are sailing.  The grammar is horrid (lots of genders and declensions) and my brain doesn’t remember the vocabulary too well either – but it is getting better. My favourite word is apopse (αποψε) which means tonight!

Once Easter is over we really need to work together on the boat so we can get it back in the water.  My Greek will have to take a back seat.  Areti told me to go and watch the church processions on Good Friday night.  So I sat outside the local church for an hour, listening to the chanting and watching more and more people turn up for the procession.  I gave up at 9pm and I think the procession finally kicked off about 10pm!  I was in bed by then…..There were fireworks last night too.

On Easter Saturday, the group that organises neutering and general care for the island cats had organised a bring and buy sale near Lindos.  Denise had asked if I wanted to go. It sounded fun and a nice break, so we shared a hire car and headed off.  It was excellent to get away from town.  The event was held at a beach restaurant, the sun shone and the water glittered.  After picking up a few things (including a large oil painting for Denise’s new apartment) we headed into Lindos for lunch.  As we wandered the narrow passages I was hailed – by yachting friends from Licata!  Guy and Ginny had recently sailed here from their winter berth in Crete and were enjoying Rhodes.

Denise and I climbed up to the castle and temple ruins.  We got there late, but the hour we had was sufficient to enjoy the scenery and more old rocks!  Some of which have obviously been replaced by new, but it does give a better idea of the original temples.

We managed to drive into the old town (soon vehicle traffic will be restricted to those with licenses only) to drop off Denise’s picture and I returned home – a very satisfying day out, topped off with a visit to our favourite pizza restaurant.

Another day I joined Denise for coffee at the local Starbucks – the only place you can get a decent sized cuppa!

Today, Easter Sunday, everyone is at home or in villages enjoying huge lamb dinners after the fasting of Lent.  Again a lovely day and warm outside – summer is on its way!

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