Wednesday, 28 June 2017


Boris has been operated on today - when I phoned he hadn't come round properly and so they will tell us more tomorrow.

A very very early start to the day today as we were having our solar panels replaced for bright new efficient ones and Alan and his worker wanted to come before it was too hot so they were here at 6.45am!!!

The solar panels we are replacing have been in over 6 years and although we know that the water here in Droushia is never going to be as good as, say, where Mum and Dad are in Emba there have been times this last winter when it has been suprisingly disappointing.  When the old panels were removed one clearly had had an issue so this would have contributed to the poor performance.  The new ones are supposed to be super-dooper state of the art and we should see a marked improvement.

As we expect to remain here in Villa 10b for the foreseeable future (and beyond) we are investing in our home to make it as comfortable and efficient as possible.  We don't have a lot of spare cash but when we do that is where it goes.

So here are our newly installed panels - looking quite different from the old ones where you could see the pipes which housed the water.  These have an opaque glass front which apparently absorbs the heat more efficiently - time will tell - John is going to make me try out the shower first thing in the morning!!!

We called round to try and see Bassam and the children this morning but they weren't there and we couldn't get them on the phone.  So returned home and will try again later.

Being at home today allowed us to get on with a few things which have been on the list for a while, plus it ended up being a lot cooler than we had anticipated as the rain finally came today - not for long and not much but enough to clear the air and put a temporary stop to my gardening.

As we sat under the gazebo at the front of the house waiting for the rain to stop we decided that it was time to treat this area to a new cover.  I had bought two a few weeks ago in SuperHome Centre as the ones on the gazebos at the moment have been repaired more times than I care to remember.  It was John's plan to take this old one down and put it on top of the gazebo by the kitchen to give us more shade because on Sunday it was really too sunny there to really enjoy eating lunch and we have to be careful that people don't burn the tops of their heads.

The new covers look really nice - as they are a creamy beige and the old one was brown which had been faded by the sun to a strange colour - it won't matter where it is going.

So that was a tick in the box and a job well done.  The gazebo structures seem to last many seasons but the covers do not so it is good that you can buy replacements - I think they were about €30 so cheaper than replacing the whole thing.  The seating area in the front looks nice again!

As it was cooler and we were home I decided to spend some time in the garden giving things a bit of a prune.  I don't like starting that job and not finishing which can happen when the temperatures rise so it was an ideal opportunity.  I did some general cutting back and dead heading and clearing up and then asked John what he thought needed attention and we decided that we would take the time to tackle the bay tree which is in the front garden and which has now grown too big for me to cope with on my own.

Having taking the plunge and given the solanum outside the kitchen door a really good cut in the spring it is now a size that I can manage - we are keen to do the same with other trees and bushes in the garden just in case, for any reason, John isn't available to do the high bits.

So this picture is half way through giving the bay tree a 'flat top'.  You can see from the growth at the back how tall it had become.  There is also an issue with a very spiky cactus plant at its base which makes cutting one side of it rather hazardous.

I did what I could manage but had to get John in to cut the thicker stems which were right in the middle of the plant.  This tree makes a mess when it sheds leaves and I wanted to try and make sure I cleared up as much as I could otherwise you would have no idea there was any shingle in underneath!!

Here it is having had its first proper haircut in ages - it is still too big for me to manage without steps so we will be taking it down a bit further.  It is hard to believe it was only about 12 inches tall when we first moved into the house - just goes to show how much things can grow even without much care and attention.  This tree never gets watered.

The area outside the guest bedroom was next to get some attention.  Our olive tree is kept under control because that too is messy.  At the moment it has some lights wrapped around it which means we can't really cut it back as short as we would like but when they stop working we plan to practically halve its height - olive trees are great survivors so can cope with a severe pruning.

Charlie and Minnie seem to approve of the tidy and there is a little more light coming through as I chopped back the passion flower and the morning glory which are lovely but when the flowers are over they drop and make a mess.

I did a little crafting today in between my gardening.  Someone had very kindly given me an old wooden tea tray and I wanted to 'upcycle' it so I could have it in the garden - it is going to house the placemats and serviettes for the table by the kitchen and I wanted something rustic.  Not sure it will last very long as the bottom of it has a stress crease but it will look nice for a while.

I painted it and distressed it, put some decoupage on the bottom to hide the crack and give it some colour and then boat varnished it all over so it will be ok out in the garden.  I was quite happy with it in the end.

We finished our day taking advantage of the roof terrace and the view.  The little bit of rain seems to have cleared the air and the mountains and the coastline were as clear as anything.

We could see that our neighbours Lakis, Argy and Mum have arrived from the UK.  They said they would be here for a while and will have further work done to the house whilst they are here.

Our early morning was followed by an early night - we finished Season 3 of Dexter and turned in!!

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