Into Cretan Winter Time

Sunday, 23rd October- a lovely warm sunny day. We enjoyed another swim at Kalives. Back in Provarma a leisurely lunch on the balcony. Later a JCB trundled up the hill with a load of topsoil, from the river. for the garden.

Monday, 24th October another swim on a warm sunny day, 24 degrees C. We can't resist a 'dip' when the weather is so beautiful. In the evening we enjoyed a three hour meal of pizza, village sausages, chips and salad - plus wine, of course, with Alan and Margaret.

Tuesday, 25th October- another warm, sunny day with blue skies. The mountains were clear so we took a picnic to Melidoni - not far from Provarma, further up into the mountains. We explored the village - very friendly - and the immediate surroundings. In the village square there was information about walks in the area. It was getting rather late in the afternoon so we decided to return another day for a longer walk.

Wednesday, 26th October- we returned to Melidoni to walk towards a church in the mountains. As soon as we arrived at the village square we were offered a drink by the men sitting in the square. We parked near the church, up a very steep hill and then walked into the White mountains for a couple of hours - mostly uphill! The scenery and views were wonderful although it was rather misty over towards the north coast. In the evening we went to the internet cafe at Georgioupoli to update the website. Last winter the cafe was open but not this winter.  We have to find somewhere else to connect our laptop for updates.

Thursday, 27th October-
another lovely day, another swim and shopping in Kalives.  That afternoon friends Pat and Roy eventually found our house after a detour to Stilos.  We enjoyed tea, biscuits and a long chat, on the front terrace.

Friday, 28th October- was the hottest day since we returned on 6th September. It was 28 degrees C. We enjoyed a walk later in the day. Roy continued to sort out the garden.

Saturday, 29th October -  cooler and cloudy - down to 18 degrees C.  Still warm enough for our usual breakfast on the balcony. Later that day all the equipment was delivered for our promised central heating. The work should begin on Monday.

Sunday, 30th October-
cooler and cloudy, breakfast inside!. Roy planted some seeds - trial and error to see what will grow during the winter. We enjoyed a walk at Douliana.  The sun came out and the temperature rose. Later we moved furniture and tidied everything away in drawers and cupboards ready for the central heating installation to begin the next day.

Monday, 31st October- We had been planning to walk the Imbros gorge through to the south coast, with Alan and Margaret, for some time.  Today was the day. It started off badly as the water was off. However, we met at a church just outside Vrysses at 9.45 a.m. We had to wait while a road block cleared then we drove both cars over to the south coast, parked one at the end of the gorge and we all travelled back in one car which we parked at Imbros village. We walked the 8 kms. through the gorge with lovely scenery and rock formations. We really enjoyed it and were very lucky with the weather. It stayed dry with sunny spells. We found where we had parked the car after turning down offers of taxis from the taverna owners at the foot of the gorge. We then drove along the coast and had a picnic in a cove backed by huge caves. We drove back through the mountains to collect the other car. It was almost dark by the time we returned to the north coast. We then had a lovely meal at Alan and Margaret's home before returning to Provarma. Nothing had happened with the central heating due to the illness of the installer.


November started off cooler and cloudy with some sun. We enjoyed walks and did some shopping - essential food supplies.

Thursday, 3rd November- I had been invited to a 'ladies only' afternoon at Libby's home, next door to where we stayed last winter. I met some more residents of Crete and we enjoyed tea, cake and biscuits by a roaring log fire. There was torrential rain that day.

Friday, 4th November- weather was sunny at first so breakfast on balcony as usual. We visited the internet cafe in Kalives and met several people. We had a walk in the afternoon and collected walnuts and figs. Roy planted more vegetable seeds in the garden.

Saturday, 5th November - was a hot, sunny day. Roy had arranged a meeting of the Wildlife Group. We had expected a possible eight people to join us but twenty-two arrived at the rendezvous. With help from a Greek speaking friend I contacted the taverna where we had booked lunch to vastly increase the numbers. We enjoyed a walk along by Stilos river and then went to the Turkish fort at Aptera in a convoy of cars. From 2 p.m. we enjoyed a meal at Cretan Corner in Megala Horafia sitting outside. We had lamb with potatoes from the oven, spinach pies, various salads, giant beans, mountain greens and wine. This was followed by coffee, grapes and tscouthia. Sparklers were kindly provided as it was Guy Fawkes day.

It was now dark by 6 p.m. The next few days were cloudy with sunny spells. We went on several enjoyable walks and collected more walnuts.  The oranges are ripening rapidly in the orange groves. There are trees heavy with pomegranates and we one in our garden.

We managed to register with IKA (Health Authority) at the third attempt - it took an hour and a half.

Wednesday, 9th November- weather was warm and overcast. We enjoyed a walk in the Exopoli area with Alan and Margaret and then another lovely meal at their home. That evening was much cooler.  We had had a load of wood delivered so we enjoyed our first fire. We had a fire in the evening for the next few days. On Thursday Roy had treatment at the dentist in Kalives. Private treatment and successful.

Sunday, 13th November- we drove into the hills near Ramni and followed a new tarmac road further into the mountains. We reached the village of Madaro and then walked towards the mountain refuge at Volika for a couple of hours.  Beautiful countryside and views over to the coast. The autumn colours on the foliage lit up the scenery.. There were dozens of lambs on the hillsides. Most ewes had twin lambs.

Thursday, 17th November
- warm and sunny, 24C with a southerly breeze. We enjoyed another swim in the sea.  That afternoon I went to another 'ladies' afternoon which was enjoyable - more cake and tea! By late afternoon it had become very dull and began to rain. It was still very warm and later there was a storm and torrential rain.

The next day was warm and sunny.  We enjoyed our meals outside and more walks.

Saturday, 19th November- by 9 a.m. the team of men to install our long awaited central heating arrived. We went over to help Alan and Margaret with the olive picking but this was abandoned as it was too wet. The rain continued for several hours. We had lunch at a taverna in Stilos: lamb and mountain greens. We called by at the house at 3 p.m. to find all the radiators installed and everything tidied. We re-arranged the furniture and put out everything we had cleared away.

Sunday, 20th November -the weather was drier with sunny spells. Later in the day we were able to join Alan and Margaret and two other couples, to help with the olive picking.  In all 192 kilos of olives were collected giving 32 litres of oil. We all enjoyed a buffet lunch provided by Margaret.

The next two or three days were cooler with some showers.

Wednesday, 23rd November- we visited Manolis in Vamos for a chat and then went to OTE to arrange for a telephone line. We were not successful as we did not have the document with us showing our tax number.  

Thursday, 24th November- our fire had stayed in overnight and then the radiators were tested. We were soon quite warm - 25C.  Yiannis ordered 500 litres of heating oil for us from his friend in Chania, which arrived the next morning. So we now have the convenience of central heating and our car parking area - with metal gate -  as promised when we rented our house.

Friday, 25th November- Yiannis invited us to watch his tscouthia being prepared at Agia Pantes at 3 p.m. that afternoon. It was very interesting to watch the process, in an open barn. The remains from the wine making process - grape skins and stalks are put into a huge cauldron, water is added. The cauldron is then placed on top of a roaring open wood fire. The huge copper still is then fixed on top. The steam that is produced is channelled through a pipe and condenser, where it is cooled. The resulting liquid (tscouthia) is collected, transferred to a barrel and later bottled. Later that evening Yiannis brought us one and a half litres to try!

Everywhere in the countryside the olives are being harvested.  The air is heavy with the smell of olives near the many processing plants. Every village seems to have at least one.

Saturday, 26th November- the day started dull and warm with no wind. We did some shopping. George (Yiannis' son) visited in the afternoon for a chat and to see if the central heating was O.K.  We had not used the heating much as the weather was warm. That night the calm weather was replaced by gale force gusts of wind. The next day was again very windy, hot and sunny. The air was dusty with sand from the Sahara. We went for a drive and a walk later in the day when the gales subsided. It was still 24C.

Monday, 28th November- warm again but dull. Alan and Margaret called in for coffee and brought a bottle of the olive oil they had had processed. They should have more than enough oil to be self sufficient for the next year. It was nice to have been able to take part by helping with the olive picking.

Tuesday, 29th November- warm again but cloudy. We did some shopping and then went to Vamos again to the OTE office to arrange for a telephone line at Provarma. We had the correct documents this time but now a contract relating to our rental property was required. No luck again - perhaps next time!! It is never easy.

Wednesday, 30th November- Warm and sunny with blue sky. The mountains were clear so we took a picnic lunch to the area around Madaro and stopped at the church at Tsakistra. A lovely spot overlooking the valley towards Georgioupoli and Rethmynon.

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