Yacht Pipit


The Fly (and its friends) - 20th November 2014

It's a hard life...

Now we like cats, and we enjoy our regular feline visitors but they can be a bit of a nuisance sometimes (especially when eating al fresco - us not them) so, like others in these parts, we have invested in a 'weapon of cat distraction' - that is to say, a child's water pistol. We can report that no cats have been harmed in bringing you this news and, as it happens, after a little 'training', the four legged friends now only have to catch sight of said pistol and they make a hasty retreat.

As happened last year, for one week only in early November, we were plagued by flies but fortunately, as you can see, fly papers are extremely effective! Apologies if you are eating...

It's hard to think where our time goes - it's been over a month since our last update, so what have we been up to? Well, we have been doing some Ionian Webworks work in the form of additions to the Exclusive Meganisi website (still a work in progress) plus another website. Just recently, Andy has also been working on another project, a sprat & mackerel affair, but we'll have to wait a while to see if that mackerel gets caught... All this work has found us, rather than vice versa, although we haven't just been sitting around waiting for the phone to ring or emails to arrive - there has been some leg work and some paddling below the surface. So there you have it, a fish and a (water)fowl metaphor both in one paragraph!

We have also been working our way through the list of jobs on Pipit - we have done most of the 'number one' jobs and will shortly move on to the 'number twos', and we're not only talking about the heads pump, which after nearly 4 years is in need of replacement again - we've been carrying a spare all that time.

The weather here has been mixed as you would expect at this time of year with a few spells of heavy rain and thunderstorms, but we've had many lovely sunny days allowing us to enjoy lunchtime relaxation and barbecues, 'poolside'. The pool has actually been drained for the winter, but has still provided some attraction in the form of some interesting creepy crawlies who seem to like hanging around in it. Somehow, although I haven't been game enough to get up close & personal to get a photograph, they don't look so creepy in there. One such visitor who stayed for several days was an unusual stick insect I named Stanley (although it could have been a Stella, who can tell?), but a day of very heavy rain saw him/her disappear, just hope it wasn't down the drain! We've also noticed an enormous spider, as well as numerous lizards and a couple of praying mantis (or should that be mantii?)

Chicken & geraniums - yum!

The weather's still warm enough to justify this...

Kalí óreksi!

We've had a few short strolls, but we haven't yet brought our walking boots off the boat as at midday it's still been almost too warm for a long hike. Temperatures at night are now falling, and although still warmer than the daytime temperatures in the UK, we have lit the log burner a few times. We certainly won't be lacking adequate warmth when it gets really cold, as the trial runs of the log burner at these relatively mild temperatures has almost had us opening the doors to cool off! We had a corker of a thunderstorm yesterday, very short-lived but complete with pea-sized hailstones. The sunshine has returned today, although accompanied by cooler winds.

We have been thoroughly enjoying cooking with the luxury of a full-sized kitchen, full-sized cooker & four (yes, count 'em, four) burner hob. Ok, I know this doesn't seem very exciting to those who may not have lived on a small boat but, hey, us liveaboards (even if we are now just seasonal liveaboards) are easily pleased. Although the kitchen here in Villa Shamballa would be described as a galley kitchen, it is very well laid out with plenty of countertop space for prep and is a joy to work in, albeit a little short of 'pantry cupboard' space, particularly as we will be doing a big shop about once a month on Lefkas for non-perishables as well as meat to fill the freezer. Our last visit for shopping on Lefkada was very rushed as we had various other things to do in addition to the shopping, and we ran out of time to do all the shopping we intended and didn't get a chance to catch up with Anne & Gordon at the marina - we'll try again next visit folks! We did manage to buy a superb pork roast complete with skin (large joints seem to be rare here and pork is certainly hard to come by with the skin intact). The joint was huge but resulted in the best pork crackling either of us have ever cooked, the meat was flavourful and tender and there is still one pack of leftovers in the freezer!

Try that in a Techimpex boat oven...

Continuing on the food theme, we've recently placed an order with Spice Mountain. Coincidentally, Andy's sister Gill is a fan of their shop in London's Borough Market, so we made a good choice for replenishing our depleted supplies of spices that we haven't been able to find here in the Ionian. To satisfy our cravings for other foodstuffs that we miss from the UK that are difficult or impossible to find here, we have previously ordered from Amazon, but the delivery charges here to the Ionian are higher that our previous over-wintering destinations. We've recently discovered British Corner Shop so have a consignment of peanut butter, Christmas pudding, tea, oatcakes, haggis (for Andy's 'day' on the 30th) and other delights en route from, of all places, Iron Acton, just a few miles from where Andy used to live! Some of you may think it a bit sad that we are ordering all this 'stuff' from the UK, but whilst we love Greek cuisine (and the same can be said of all the cuisines we've experienced en route), there are only so many souvlakis a man (and a woman) can take! As we've said before, one of the things we miss about the UK is the enormous variety of foods available and the appetite (pun intended) for trying newly introduced ingredients. So after nearly five years away, we don't think it's too surprising that we occasionally fancy a 'proper' cup of tea amongst other things. Alas a pork pie couldn't be shipped, so we still have to savour the memory of Morrisons in Gibraltar!

We really do like 'our' villa - we'll endeavour to take some better pictures when the sun isn't streaming in (and there isn't a fly paper hanging)!

A room with two views...

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