Tuesday, 16 July 2013

We had the most wonderful holiday on the Pelion peninsula, Greece. We have stayed there before two years ago and decided that we had to go back, which is probably rather unadventurous but when you have found a gem like this it is difficult to go anywhere else. We spent the week doing very little apart from walking swimming, sunbathing and enjoying the locals and their food. It is such a small community there with just two tavernas on the beach and two little shops. Every morning we would sit on the balcony and watch the fishing boats return. We would then stroll down to watch them unload and we could order our fish for that evening. The locals were all incredibly friendly and we had long chats about the economy and farming. There was no shortage of money in their village as they only deal with cash and I suspect that not an awful lot would go to the tax man, although the government are trying to rake a bit back now by making the owners of the restaurants pay a tax per table.Needless to say there was a stack of tables hidden out the back which would be pulled into view as the customers turned up for their meals.Everything we ate was fresh and local so it would be impossible for anyone to know exactly what had been sold. We were also told that there is no land registry in Greece and every week there is a big court case fighting over ownership. The EU has given Greece 1.2 billion pounds to set up a land registry but nothing as yet has been done. We were also told, and obviously we don't know how true it is, that Greece should be two and a half times bigger than it is if the subsidy claims per acre were correct - No wonder they don't want to have a land registry!! You can't help like the people though even though some of them are rogues, there is such a lovely family atmosphere and they all look after their own. Sadly though in Athens things are pretty bleak with massive unemployment and a suicide rate that has risen by 26%. It is hard to believe that the Government thought that it could be sustainable with their employees retiring at 50 on a full pension and only a small percentage of the population paying taxes. Quite extraordinary.
We met a lovely couple called Pat and Marie who were in their seventies but were so sprightly it put us both to shame - They had an interesting story to tell in that they got married in their early twenties for ten years, and in Pat's own words he was a 'philanderer' , Marie divorced him and re-married . Pat also married again but she turned out to be even more of a philanderer than him (what goes around comes around..) She ran off with someone else. In the meantime Marie's second husband of ten years sadly died. Two years later there was a chance meeting between Pat and Marie, (possibly instrumented by Pat, methinks) Marie and Pat remarried and are still very happily together 15 years later. Aaaah, isn't that sweet?! but they really seemed absolutely perfect for each other and very much in love. They very kindly took us out for the day in their hired car and we saw some more beautiful places, Platania, being one, which was a big natural harbour with a lovely beach, we then went on to Lafkos which had a massive, typically Greek square next to the ancient church where the locals and a couple of priests were enjoying their normal pastime of sitting around drinking coffee.
It was a great holiday and even better that we could go away and everything was fine when we got back. Annette looked after everything in the office, with a bit of poultry and dog management, shared with Jay, whilst Dickie also did a fine job of looking after Greener Pastures and horses.
Our apartment