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Turkey, Kos, Glossop, Kos

October 24, 2017

The last words of the last blog, back on 18th July were: Over the next few days we will slowly meander down to Datça, sign out there and sail to Kos ready for our flight to the UK.  So it may be a while before the next episode and a different set of topics.  Worse – do we have enough warm clothing for Glossop in August?

Rainbow in Glossop

And no, we didn’t have enough warm clothing for Glossop!  But back to the end of July.  We managed to get away from Marti Marina after a frustrating wait to get fuel and a black water pump out for the record on our Blue Card.  We had to hang around for a large motor yacht to be serviced, then the staff all went for lunch!  Eventually we managed to tie up to the pontoon ourselves and the attendant returned from his lunch.

Marti Marina gardens

We enjoyed a pleasant sail out in the bay before heading in to a new restaurant called Neighbours at Kuzbuku Koyu– run by the same lot as the eponymous one in Marmaris.  It was very pleasant, quite smart, and the food was great.  When trying to find the toilet and shower block we mistakenly climbed an extra set of steps and found ourselves looking at a row of small but very well equipped hotel type rooms – so not only a dock and restaurant but a pension as well.

The first night we were there I felt a strange vibration through the bow line (this dock had laid lines) about 2am. It was as if someone had driven a boat over the line.  I got up to check if anything was there, but saw nothing, so went back to bed and sleep.

The next day we saw the news of the major earthquake that had hit Bodrum and Kos.  We were only 40 miles away or so from Bodrum (as the crow flies), which explained the strange night time event.  The restaurant staff didn’t seem perturbed, so I don’t know if they felt anything!

We spent a couple of nights there and then headed for Datça to check out tying up at the main town quay as usual with the anchor out the front.  No progress on the new marina that has been started at the end of the bay!  Somehow we managed to spend four nights there, keeping an eye on various people who came in next to us and potentially crossed our anchor – but no problems.  However one small motor boat came in and caused all sorts of damage to another motor boat. The driver was either drunk or completely incompetent.  You could only watch in horror. They were sent away and banished to the other side of the harbour with the fishing boats.

Datca

Then we set off for Knidos having got our transit log cancelled and passports stamped for exit.  We were allowed one night in Knidos (no sign of earthquake damage there either), then headed for Kos on 27th July, ready to make the boat safe for our stay in the UK.  Kos marina staff are so good – they nudged us into position expertly as usual and we tied up with no problems.

Knidos

We kept our phone and tablet on the Turkish sim cards as the signal is good and we had plenty of credit left!  We made contact with Pierre Dumont who provides boat safekeeping services which is a requirement here if you are not on the boat for any length of time.

The boat was washed, cleaned inside and out and all the external trappings removed and stored inside.  I took a huge load of washing to the marina laundry the day we were leaving, asking Pierre to collect and put it back on the boat – which he never did.  He did collect our old main sail though which we had kept in case we could get the VAT on the new sail back in Datça.  Unfortunately the customs office there wasn’t equipped to do that, so we missed out.  We could have gone to Bodrum instead, but the price of the marina there would probably have cancelled out any benefit!

The harbour light – should be vertical!

We had to get a new DEKPA as well, so hired bikes and headed off into town to the Port Police.  The process was fairly straightforward, but it took a long time to queue at the bank to pay the tax – should not have done it on a Friday afternoon!  We toured the town and checked out the damage caused by the earthquake. It was considerable around the old harbour, with big cracks and subsidence.  All the big ferries were redirected to a port on the other side of the island as the ferry quay was badly damaged.  Now we are back two months later we can see the ferries back at the quay, so will go and investigate next week.

More destroyed pavement

The dinghy was cleaned, packed up and tied up on the front of the boat, and we enjoyed a few evenings at the local pita gyros café soaking up what might be our last rays of sunshine for a while!

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On 1st August we flew into Manchester airport and got the train to Glossop, pitching up at the Travelodge in the centre of town around 6pm (8pm our time).  We headed to the Wetherspoons pub next door and enjoyed real beer and I had a steak & kidney pudding!  It was raining.  We slept well!

Gardens

We had found out that our tenants had asked to not vacate the house until 4th August, so that gave us a few days to get ourselves sorted out.  The local car rental place didn’t have a car available until the following week, so I had to schlep into Manchester to get a Europcar hire for a few days.  I have to say that the standard of rental cars in the UK is somewhat higher than those in Greece!  Both vehicles we had were great, with plenty of power.

Eventually we managed to get access to the house.  It had been stripped bare – there was nothing left in it, even down to toilet paper!  But there was plenty of junk left lying around in the garage and cellar which we slowly got rid of.

Brian’s table saw

We managed to get some basic furniture sorted out from the local furniture charity shop, and our friends in the village kindly lent us bedding, crockery and cutlery and pans!  It was interesting working out the minimum of consumables that we could live with!  And we maxed out on the fantastic pork pies from the local butcher.

We went through with the rental agency to note damages etc.  It was sad to find that there was so much black mould around many windows, and that the wooden flooring had been damaged in several places.  One of the issues we had had over the previous 6 months was that water had managed to get in through the French windows in the kitchen area, damaging the wooden floor there.  We had claimed that on the house insurance and they agreed that it could not be patched, but that the whole area would need replacing!  The tenants did not want this doing while they were in residence so it was scheduled to start as soon as they left.

Kitchen

When the joiner arrived to start work, we agreed with him to continue to replace the rest of the wooden flooring as women with stiletto heels and dogs with claws had pretty much wrecked the floor throughout.

Meantime, Brian’s sister and her partner had arranged to visit, which was great.  Eddie is a self employed gardener, so they set to and stripped away all the ivy that was growing over windows and into gutters – excellent.  It was lovely to see them and their work was much appreciated.

My sister and her husband also came to visit, and my sister also came for a few more days later on, doing a stirling job with sanding down the bench top from our porch, and painting the fence, as well as finding Bugsworth Basin – a restored canal warehousing and shipping area in the middle of the Peak District. An extraordinary industrial history find.

Bugsworth basin canal

Our biggest problem was to resolve damp issues.  What a palaver.  We eventually got one quote for full waterproofing with pumped drainage – which was well beyond our means.  So I found another local contractor who seemed to be competent and we agreed a more conservative approach, essentially re-doing what had been incorrectly installed six years previously.

Old damp proof membrane

However this still mean tearing off  large areas of plaster and plasterboard and cutting a channel between the floor and wall in one room to allow water to drain away.  It was pretty obvious to us that the previous work had been substandard – but two sets of surveyors who had been to the  property the previous year were adamant that it was all just condensation!  The overseeing contractor had then put in some ventilation systems, which were pretty ineffectual.

Damp running on the floor from the membrane!

We were pleased to be there when the work was being done – we were able to pick up on errors and get things done correctly!

So what we had hoped would be a 3 or 4 week stay to get the house sorted out turned into a two and a half month 7 day a week major renovation effort!

We wanted that tree cut down since ever!

What did we have done?

  • Whole house repainted inside and out
  • Extensive damp remedial work
  • New tiling in bathroom
  • Entire ground floor wooden flooring replaced
  • Replace clouded double glazing units – including two of the panes on the conservatory which had to be done by specialists!
  • Exterior stone terraces restored and repointed
  • Stone roofs repaired (garage and house) and ridge repointed
  • Tear down and replace a chimney (found to be cracked when the roofers were up there)
  • Bare flower beds covered with bark chips
  • Large tree cut down and overgrowth trimmed
  • New wooden and plastic gutters sourced, painted, installed
  • Wood burning stoves certified and one of the chimneys cleared of lots of birds nests!
  • Central heating boilers serviced and certified
  • All the carpeting deep cleaned

    Harold (right) and Tim – Finished the new chimney

All the contractors who did the work were great, so we have made a lot of new contacts if we need them.

We are retaining the small cottage next to the main house. It is rented to a guy who has been there 5 years and is keeping the place very nicely.  We have taken it over from the property agency, so he can get any repairs done directly and we can reimburse him – it will work out much better.  He is a DJ and works on developing funk soul with contacts in the States – as well as spending a lot of time in London.  Fascinating guy – he has given us a couple of CD’s of his music too.

The Stables, Glossop

And of course we had a lot of work to do ourselves. The first week we were there the weather was fairly good, so we got onto the garage and kitchen roofs and cleaned off the moss and dirt that had accumulated.  After that it deteriorated, with rain most days and quite cold.  No we didn’t have enough warm clothing! So Tesco got raided for extra gear for working in.  Brian found a great working shirt in one of the many charity shops in Glossop.

I scrubbed and cleaned off all the black mould around the house.  Fabric blinds had been put up at many windows that had got mouldy as well, so those came off.  We managed to get a ladder into the conservatory and spent a long time cleaning off water stains from the rafters and black mould from the skylights, clearing out moss and dirt from the openings.  We repainted the rafters with natural decking oil.  They look much better.

Conservatory

Brian was really pleased to find that the tools he had stored away behind boards in his workshops were still there.

We both worked hard at cleaning, re grouting, clearing out old silicon and replacing it in the three bathrooms and repairing the damages to pipe boxing.  The standard of repairs carried out over the 8 years we had been away was appalling, with no attempt to replace things like cap covers over screw heads and cleaning off old sealant before putting in new, etc.

Brian repointed outside the house where big gaps in the stone work would have exacerbated the damp issues.  He spent a few evenings cleaning the stone terraces too with the pressure washer.  They look great now!  He tidied up all the wiring in the cellar and garage, replaced outside lights, etc.

The list of things we did could go on – we were so tired by the end!

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Finally we saw light at the end of the tunnel and booked our flight back to Kos for 11th October.  I organised a final window clean and cleaners to come in and clean the whole house.  They will keep it clean while it is empty, waiting for someone to buy it!

Locking the door – last time

We had also made contact with our great friends Gill and John, who were back in the UK after selling their yacht Petronella to an American couple.  It was great to meet up with them for an hour or so as they passed Manchester on their way to Cumbria to see friends there.

We talked boaty things – a nice change from house things!

Gill & John

Our friends in Glossop, Chris and Sue, came and took us out to dinner a few times too – that was great to find out what was happening in their and their children’s lives.  The latest news is that their youngest son is getting married in January, so Sue is busy with preparations!

We moved out of the house on 6th October, back to the Travelodge, while the charity furniture shop came to collect all the furniture we had bought off them on arrival!  Notably they took the huge LCD TV that we had bought back in 2003 for £2,300 and was one of the only things that had survived the tenancies! Wow, we must have been feeling rich….. Jessica and Mark had brought up a box of our files including house deeds and all the invoices for the renovations that were carried out in 2002.  Most of them went in the bin, but it was interesting to see what we had done and who the suppliers were!  Some of the specialist suppliers details we have left for the potential new owners of the house.

Having got back to Kos, I just felt wiped out – Brian too to a lesser extent.  We spent 3 days recuperating! Now we need to wash the accumulated salt and sand off the boat, plot a course, check the weather and head in a Rhodes direction!  Brian has taken the rented bike and gone down the coast to see if there are any migrating birds.

I have put feelers out for accommodation in Rhodes – to rent for a couple of years or so – to give us a year round base.  That will be a different experience!  And it will be great not to have to keep everything on the boat, although this past summer we did take advantage of a storage facility in Rhodes where we left our winter gear (oops) and excess items.

It had been quite windy until our penultimate day in Kos – but sunny and warm! What a difference.  When we arrived we found them erecting a huge stage and seating area opposite our pontoon.

The grand stage for Anastacia – a one hour gig!

We eventually found out that it was a private event for Microsoft employees (possibly).  It was extraordinarily extravagant – the catering included spit roasted piglets!  Lots of dressing up as Greek gods and bit of acting by a Greek dance team, and then the “act” was announced – it was Anastacia, a country rock artist from Chicago.  Her set only lasted about an hour and wasn’t very inspiring we thought – a huge amount of effort for not very much. At least it was all over at a reasonable time – not like the usual Greek event that goes on until dawn. It was all being dismantled again overnight.  What a waste of money.

Greek Actors or Players at the Kos event

The next blog should find us in Rhodes (from where I am posting this on the WordPress site), and I will be able to update you on how we get on starting to make a base for ourselves once we have a permanent address, including getting onto a health system, taking out proper phone contracts, getting a Greek bank account and all those exciting things!  No doubt it will be tortuous, but we expect that. We might even go as far as buying a car and all that entails.  Hopefully if we have transport we will be able to join the winter walks that we missed out on last year.

And of course I shall resume my Greek lessons – my homework has been sadly ignored for the last month or two.

Γεια σας!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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