Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Eurogroup signs off on 8bn euro aid payment

29 Nov 2011

Eurozone finance ministers agreed on Tuesday to release an 8bn euro aid payment to Greece, part of an 110bn euro package of support agreed with the government last year, an EU diplomat said.
The joint EU/IMF payment is the sixth installment of loans to help Greece finance itself since being cut off from financial markets. Without the payment, the country risks going bankrupt.
The payment was dependent on a written commitment from Greece that it would meet its obligations to cut its budget deficit and keep finances in check.
"The Eurogroup endorsed the payout of the sixth tranche to Greece", the diplomat said.
The payment has been held up for a month because of delays in Greece's commitment to cut spending and increase taxes. (Reuters)
Meanwhile I was cooking a steak and onion pie, a broccoli flan and a roast chicken in case the electricity is off tomorrow, strike day. 
Jane x

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


UK’s Plan B to Aid British Expats in Case of Euro Collapse

Posted by keeptalkinggreece in Economy
Is the euro really collapsing? Does the euro zone near the end? I can’t answer these questions but the Britons allegedly prepare their Plan B to help British expats through the collapse of the common currency, collapsing of the banking system and outbreak of riots. British The Telegraph in an article Prepare for riots in euro collapse, reports that the Foreign Office and the Treasure  confirmed ”earlier this month that contingency planning for a collapse is now under way ” as the  Italian government struggled to borrow and Spain considered seeking an international bail-out.
British ministries seem to consider a euro collapse as an issue of a “matter of time”.
Recent Foreign and Commonwealth Office instructions to embassies and consulates request contingency planning for extreme scenarios including rioting and social unrest.
Greece has seen several outbreaks of civil disorder as its government struggles with its huge debts. British officials think similar scenes cannot be ruled out in other nations if the euro collapses.
Diplomats have also been told to prepare to help tens of thousands of British citizens in eurozone countries with the consequences of a financial collapse that would leave them unable to access bank accounts or even withdraw cash.
There is also the potential for social unrest: embassies and consulates have been told to prepare for a flood of inquiries and requests for help if the euro stops working in some countries and other currencies have to be introduced (there are a million Britons in Spain alone). Fortunately, the government can keep liquidity flowing at home in an emergency, thanks to the UK retaining its own currency. source: Telegraph
It's all a bit scary really. Ignorance is bliss, but this will affect everyone, and heads in the sand will get their backsides kicked!

Vrahassi was very quiet today. David and I popped into the cafeneio for a drink, we sat outside looking on to an empty street. A couple of old men were perched on the old bench by the statue. The travelling fish man stopped but had no takers for his fish. He was not a happy man. I had a word with Papa Niko, he was not a happy man either. The school taxi dropped off a couple of kids; a scooter carrying 3 people puttered past. Only David and I remained in the silence of the afternoon. The sun was warm, a slight breeze shook the young trees which masked our mountain view. Abandoned cafeneio chairs stood guardian to a heap of firewood, and we drank up and left with no one to say good bye to. We had obviously missed the rush hour!

Jane x

Monday, November 28, 2011


Property tax rules promised as protests surge

28 Nov 2011

Consumers wait in line at a branch of Public Power Corporation (DEI) to pay their combined electricity and property tax bill (Reuters)

Consumers wait in line at a branch of Public Power Corporation (DEI) to pay their combined electricity and property tax bill (Reuters)

The government has promised to detail rules by Tuesday on providing relief for low-income households facing the new property tax on their electricity bills.
Authorities are scrambling to keep the measure in place – and boost anaemic state revenues – amid growing protests and legal claims.
The finance ministry has said no homes would be disconnected until three-member exemption committees had been set up at every Greek municipality. The committees are likely to include tax officials and social workers.
At least six separate protests against the new tax are planned today in Thessaloniki, as more cases of bureaucratic blunders emerge.
The latest revelation came from the northern town of Grevena, where victims of a 1995 earthquake still living in converted freight containers were sent property tax demands. (Athens News/gw
As the likelihood of the euro collapse becomes more and more probable, I am watching the situation very closely. And I am seriously thinking of learning how to grow veggies. We certainly live in interesting times!

Love Jane x
P.S. And it's no good sending me food parcels, the post office is very unreliable. You could always buy me a pint however, just click the DONATE button opposite. I love you all, Jane x Cheers!

Friday, November 25, 2011


DEI TO DOUBLE DISCONNECTION to double disconnection notice The government will grant struggling consumers more time to pay emergency property taxes on their electricity bills, it has been announced. Under the new rules, the Public Power Corporation (DEI) will now wait 80 days, double the previous period, before disconnection orders are issued on overdue accounts. Ilias Plaskovitis, general secretary at the finance ministry, said no homes would be disconnected until three-member exemption committees had been set up at every Greek municipality. The committees are likely to include tax officials and social workers.

Information taken from the Athen's News today.


I thought you may like to have a little glimpse into how I celebrated American Thanksgiving. And here is a little rendition from my poet friend Lou.

I hope your Thanksgiving was as good as mine,
Love Jane x

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Please let me point out that I am not an expert at this training. I do not know the correct terminology yet, but no doubt will increase my knowledge with my fitness. The idea behind the videos are to show people of my age (60) that they can become fit from being really unfit. As the months go by I believe my shape will change, my strength will improve, and my general well being will be much better. If you would like to do these exercises I recommend that you take a look at the programme and follow the advice given. 7 minute workout. Happy getting fit. Love Jane x

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011


Hi everyone,

It really is a beautiful day today! The sky is blue, the air is fresh, a warm November sun has brightened my back yard and my foot is on the mend. I shall be able to get around the village very soon to catch up with what is happening in Vrahassi.

One thing that I do know is happening in Vrahassi concerns the cafeneio in the square, the one which Yannis runs. Well, would you believe it, I was stopped in the street the other day, as I returned from Agios Nikolaos, and asked if I would like to take over the cafeneio. I replied very politely, 'No thank you.' Anyway, if you should be interested, or know of anybody who is, then please ask for further information at the council office in Vrahassi. I think Yannis last day is the 30th November - sombody please tell me if I have it all wrong.

Γνωρίζετε ότι μου ζητήθηκε να αναλάβω χθες το καφενείοστο Βραχάσι. «Όχι ευχαριστώ.», απάντησα ευγενικά. Αλλά ελπίζω ότι κάποιος θα το αναλάβει . Οι ενδιαφερόμενοι πρέπει προφανώς να πάνε στο τόπικό γραφείο του Δήμου στο Βραχάσι. Μου είπαν ότι ο Γιάννης θα το αφήσει στις 30 αυτού του μήνα. Αν ενδιαφέρεστε εξετάστε το.
I am going to do my exercises in a minute. This morning I helped David make a short video about his weight loss and how he has achieved it with the help of the 7 minute workout. You would think with all the physical work that he does, he would not need any other exercise, but he was quite unfit at the beginning of the summer. He has certainly changed shape, and has lots more energy. Unfortunately his video making skills proved to be a little more difficult. He spent the whole of yesterday trying to get it right only to find that his great (take 123) take refused to load into the programme selected. He was so stressed that he reached for a glass of raki (being the only drink in the house) and stormed off with the dogs in a sulk.

This morning he was up at a most ungodly hour, trying again. Hoorah! Only a few takes this time and then he left it to upload. Who needs alarm clocks when they have a man who bangs his fist on the desk and fills the morning air with a string of Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! and the occasionall Bollocks! It didn't work. I patiently got out of bed, washed, dressed and dared to enter the living room to ask if he wanted any porridge. Then I took hold of my little flip video camera, offered a solution that worked really well, and by the time breakfast was ready, the video was made, the house had cleard of all those bad vibes, and our beautiful day began.

Talk again tomorrow,
Love Jane x

P.S. To the Gang, my phone is only taking incoming cos I haven't paid the bill, so take it that your Angel letter is being returned via this blog instead. It was a lovely thought, and brought a little glow to the home. Love you lots. J x

Sunday, November 20, 2011


It's easy, just give them the right command. They just have to know where they sleep. Even Zouki doesn't get away with sleeping on the couch, not for long anyway.

Friday, November 18, 2011


Oh, and if you are having a relaxing weekend at home, take a look on Amazon for my book, there are some great deals, and it will make a wonderful Christmas present. Or you could download it onto your Kindle for a fraction of the price. Please excuse the blatant advert, but self-marketing with a zero budget is not too easy. Anyway, if you are thinking of that Christmas present with a difference, Tears from the Sun - a Cretan Journey is just what you need. Just click on one of the links on the right.

Love you all, Jane x


A few years ago David and a few of our friends took 2 weeks out to walk half of the E4 from the west of Crete to Heraklion. Next year I hope to join them when they complete the walk across the island from Fourfouras to Zakros. This is the route. So, depending on how fit we all are next September, we hope to cover a good portion of this route. Eric, how about house sitting our dogs while we hike up the mountains?

The E4-route through Crete
From Fourfouras the marked way to the refuge of EOS of Rethymno at the south slopes of Psilorotis to high 1400 m. The refuge is not always open. From Fourfouras until the refuge, the hike lasts 3,5 - 4 hours and the difference in altitude is approximately 1000 m.

From here the way leads north

Above the Nida plateau From here the way leads north through a rocky land steeply to the summit of Psiloritis -Timios Stavros (2454 m), reached in 3 to 3.30'. The area is arid and treeless. From the summit, one has a splendid view of the whole island. From the summit on a well stepped and marked path, one reaches & descends to the Nida plateau in 2,5 hours. Here the two branches meet again and proceed as a uniform path up to the east coast of the island. Above the Nida plateau is the Ida grotto (or Ideon cave), where Zeus was born by goat Amalthia according to the saga. 

Course of the southern branch

Course of the southern branch of the E4GR (traveling-part) from Rodakino to Nida. From Kato Rodakino north directly to the village of Agios Konstantinos (20,5 km - 7 to 8 hours). 3 km later the route bends to the alpine part of E4GR. Here Rooms, Motels.

From Agios Konstantinos

From Agios Konstantinos east to Kaloniktis, Ano Valsamonero, Armeni (15 km - 5 hours). Rooms - Motels. Graveyard dating from minoan age in the village.

From Armeni

From Armeni to the biggest part of forest-route - and field tracks through the village Selli (at the chapel Agia Fotini, where the route bends to Rethymno), Charkia and Kamvoussion to Arkadi (29 km - 9 to 10 hours). Motels, lodging in the monastery.

From Arkadi

From Arkadi through the villages Elefterna (Rooms, Motels), Kato Tripodio (lodging), Margariti (Rooms - Motels), Orthes (Motels), Kalantare, Kalamas, Passaline, Choumeri, Dafnedes, Episkopi, Garazo (32 km - 11 to 12 hours). Motels, shops.

From Garazo

From Garazo to Anogia through Moni Diakouriou (Diakouriou monastery), Zoniana, asphalted route to Anogia (16 km - 5 hours). Motels, lodging, Rooms.

From Anogia

From Anogia to Zomithos (11 km) and afterwards to Nida plateau (11 km), altogether 6 hours. The uniform long-distance-footpath E4GR here extends from the Nida plateau till the east coast. Despite its consistency, there are two branches at the start, from the village Kamares, where a grotto is situated, to the border.
Branch 1. From the plateau to the summit (approximately 1000 m), then south-east till a fork (ca. 2 km), where one must follow the branch eastward. After more than 5,5 km, the path reaches a forest, turns south, to chapel Ag. Ioannis, through Gafari canyon to the village Zaros (19 km - 5,30' hours). Hotel, Motels.
Branch 2. From the summit Timios Stavros, after approximately 5 km there is a marked forking of the path to Kamares (altitude 1900 m). To Kamares (9 km - 3 hours) - hotel, Motels, bus to Rethymno. From Kamares further to Vorizia (3,5 km - 0.50' hours), Zaros 9 km - 2.40' hours).

Zaros - church on the hill From Zaros

From Zaros (first branch) up to the chapel Ag. Ioannis (7 km - high 900 m), Gyristi (7,5 km - high 1700 M.), EOS refuge (3 km - high 1100 M.), Ano Asites (entire 21,5 km - 9 30' hours). Only coffee shops, bus to Iraklion.

From Ano Asites

From Ano Asites mainly on field and forest tracks, partially also on asphalted roads, hike to villages Kerassia (3,5 km), Veneraton (1,5 km), Kiparissi (7,7 km), Profitis Ilias (4 km). Motels, castle. Ano Archanes (9 km -3 hours), coffee shops, bus to Heraklion, Motels. Archaeological museum.

From Ano Archanes

From Ano Archanes to Kato Archanes (2 km), Myrtia (9,5 km), Astraki (1 km), Apostoli (11,5 km), Kastelli (4,5 km) (Motels, Bus to Heraklion), Xydas (3 km) (Motels, Bus - Archaeological area), Kastamonitsa (3,5 km), Kato Metochi (9,5 km), Psychron (3 km - hotel, Motels, grotto, archaeological museum. Metochi and Psychron lie on the plateau of Lassithi, 850 m high.

From Psychron

Lassithi plateau From Psychron through the Lassithi level to Agios Georgios (2,5 km), where there is also the refuge of the mountain climbers and skiers of Lassithi Club. The Vice president of the club is the priest of the village. Here, there is a hotel and Motels. From here the path goes south, one climbs to the saddle (1800 m) between the summits Dikti (2147 m) and Afendis Christos (2140 m). Before the saddle, the path bends east and proceeds descending to the Alm Salakano (17 km from Agios Georgios), where there is only a taverna.

From the Alm Salakano

From the Alm Salakano east to Prina (18 km-5 Stds - high 550 m), Masseleri (3,5 km), Vassiliki (15,5 km - high 100 m, deepest portion of the hike), crossing of the Ierapetra-Agios Nikolaos road to Monastiraki, again climbing the slopes of mountain Thripti to the village Thripti (high 880 m - 5 km-2 30' hours), further along the slopes of the mountain to Orino (high 650 m - 6,5 km), Ghryssopigi (6,5 km), Papagiannades (9 km), Chandras (4 km), Ziros (4 km), descending to Ano Zakros (250 m high- 11 km from Ziros), (rooms, motels) to Kato Zakros through the Valley of the Dead (5,5 km-7,50' hours). Rooms, motels. Places to visit: palace. Kato Zakros lies on the east coast of the island and is where the  the European long-distance-footpath E4GR of Crete finishes.

Well, that gives me something to get fit for!

It is Friday night, blowing a gale outside, and cold, but Dave and I are snug in our little Cretan house, the log fire burning away, the dogs asleep on the sofa, and tummies full of pork chops and chips. Tomorrow I will go to Agios Nikolaos to meet with my cello teacher and another student to celebrate the completion of 3 years music study. It does mean that I will have to miss my Greek lesson, however I have done my homework (and more) so hope I will be forgiven for not turning up.
I have dutifully done my 7 minute workout (don't laugh, it really is working) today, and looking forward to a lazy weekend.
Hope you have a good weekend too.
Love Jane x

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Recalling the Polytechnic 38 years on

by Damian Mac Con Uladh
17 Nov 2011

A tanks faces the Athens Polytechnic in the early hours of 17 November 1973 (file photo)

A tanks faces the Athens Polytechnic in the early hours of 17 November 1973 (file photo)
It’s November 17, the 38th anniversary of the bloody suppression of the 1973 Polytechnic revolt against the military strongmen that seized power in a coup in 1967.
Thousands of people are expected to march today in memory of that event, but also to reiterate the basic message of the student protesters: bread, education, freedom.
The online archive of this newspaper provides a wealth of accounts from eyewitnesses of that fateful morning in 1973 when tanks burst through the gates of the Athens Polytechnic.
In the hours surrounding the storming of the campus, 24 were killed and 886 people arrested.
15-17 November 1973: University students made history by turning the Athens Polytechnic into a rallying point of popular revolt against the military junta that had seized power six years before.
Using the slogan “Bread, Education, Freedom”, they drew huge crowds around the university campus, including a convoy of farmers on tractors from the town of Megara protesting at the junta’s acquisitioning of their land to build an oil refinery.
In the early hours of November 17 - ironically, International Students’ Day - the police dispersed the protesting crowds around the campus. A short time later, a column of ten army tanks and three armoured personnel carriers unloaded 150 paratroopers in front of the main gate of the university on Patission St. The remaining students standing inside the campus fences started shouting slogans “We are your brethren” for the soldiers to join them in their uprising.
“Listen up! You’ve got ten minutes to clear the university entrance and open the gates, or we’ll do it ourselves,” the commander-in-charge of the army and police forces surrounding the university told the barricaded students over a loudspeaker.
The students started chanting the national anthem in defiance of the officer’s ultimatum. At 2.30am, one of the tanks suddenly roared forward at high speed to smash its way through the university gate, injuring several youths standing behind it. Soldiers and police immediately entered the campus to round up hundreds of fleeing protesters.
Research carried in 2003 by the National Hellenic Research Foundation names 24 people as having been killed in and around the Polytechnic campus on November 16-18. A total of 886 arrests were made.
In 2003, the Athens News asked a number of foreign correspondents who reported from Greece during the junta to recall their experiences.
Nick Michaelian, who worked for Reuters during the dictatorship, describes the period and his encounters with people, including young girls, who were brutally tortured in the most shocking and degrading ways.
Those days were dark days. Plainclothes policemen from the dreaded ESA (Greek Military Police) arbitrarily arrested and beat up young people on street corners and threw them in cells and tortured them when they thought they belonged to some resistance group. Any left-leaning person was anathema. One day, two girls showed up at the Reuters office and, asking to be mentioned by name, lifted their skirts to show us their thighs and genitals badly swollen from torture and broomstick insertions.
These young people are the real unsung heroes.
For David Glass, who wrote for a number of newspapers during the junta’s rule, all was not what it seemed in the early days of the dictatorship. There was little talk of politics in public and many people seemed believed that if they simply ignored the colonels, they would be asked to stand down at some stage by the international community:
While people in the street talked about newfound stability and were saying that now that stability had been returned, George Papadopoulos and his junta would return to their barracks, the more I mixed with the journalist community, I realised an undercurrent of tension existed in all aspects of daily life. Politics seemed to be the only topic of conversation, though openly talking about politics was taboo. Much of the discussion was generated by rumours concerning politicians who were not even living in the country.
As well, music composed by people like Mikis Theodorakis and Stavros Xarchakos, who had become my favourites, was only heard behind locked doors.
And Bob McDonald wrote what it was like to report as a foreign correspondent in Junta Greece. At all times, the safety of one’s sources was a major concern:
Foreign correspondents worked in relative safety. (The one exception was the British reporter Ann Chapman who was murdered in unexplained circumstances while in Greece on a freelance assignment). The people who ran the real risks were the correspondents' Greek sources who could be arbitrarily arrested, detained without trial, exiled or brutally tortured if the regime felt they were in any way connected with the resistance.
In an article written in 2000, former Athens News staff journalist Allan Wilson retraced the hours leading up to the November 17. Wilson, who was on Patission St on that fateful night, wrote:
Neither I nor any other witness I have ever spoken to, will forget the unwonted sound of tank treads as an armoured column first hove into sight high up on Alexandras Avenue, heading for a Patission Street thronged with Athenians in a high pitch of excitement but expecting riot police, not tanks. The sight was greeted with a mixture of amazement, fear and sheer disbelief.
The tumult was deafening, as the scream of steel tank treads scraping asphalt and torturing concrete kerbs competed with the sound of people shouting and the sound of shooting as pockets of snipers took aim at the armour from the terraces of buildings adjacent to the route taken by the tanks – Mavromateon Street below Pedion tou Areos park, then Scholi Evelpidon Street, then a by-now fast-emptying Patission Street as the column headed for the Polytechnic.
Another eyewitness was the Dutch journalist Albert Coerant. In a piece penned in 2001, he recalled the many unremembered heroes of the junta period:
Indelible images from the past cross my mind on key dates of the year, like the tanks moving into the Polytechnic on November 17, 1973, and April 21, 1967 when the military first took over. Especially images of anonymous people - not the celebrities protected by their international fame, but the unknown and vulnerable who risked so much more by opposing the junta.
He also recalled the Athens News’ founder and his stance during the dictatorship. “One paper had a huge headline, ‘We should all fight for freedom...’ Underneath, in very small letters, was added ‘said Willy Brandt’, referring to events in then-divided Germany.”
In another article, Coerant, who worked as a correspondent for Dutch and Belgian TV in Greece during the military dictatorship, recalls the hours as the tanks rolled in:
And then the most horrendous and surrealistic scene of all; one which will never leave my mind. The tanks - more than 25-arrived; as if they had to annihilate a well fortified fortress and not a university campus full of unarmed children yelling for freedom. They came rolling in at about midnight. One enormous grey monster stood just in front of the gate of the Polytechnic. From the open turret an officer appeared with a pistol in his hand.
The students begged the army not to use force and not to harm them. The officer shouted down from his tank that the Greek armed forces would not negotiate with anarchists. In the Acropole Palace, children were crying and many were kneeling and loudly praying to God to stop the madness. One of the most incredible and shameful things was that at this very instant, as the children of Greece were about to die for freedom, in the same hotel, at a short distance from the oncoming catastrophe, a room full of two hundred people, mostly women but also some men, were playing cards, totally impervious to the clamours and weeping of the youth of their country.
He also relates the repeated visits in the years following November 17 from a Greek man who seemed very inquisitive about the night’s events. Coerant would later learn that the man, who had him that he had a son studying at the Polytechnic, was in denial: his son Diomedes Komnenos had been killed by a police bullet, fired at point-blank range at the gate of the Polytechnic on November 17.
Ylva Wigh of the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter was another eyewitness. As she recalled in 2003, what she saw in the early hours of November 17 was so shocking that she was unable to speak about it for years.
Around 2 o'clock on that same night when the tank had broken into the Polytechnio and the last edition of my newspaper had gone to print, Dinos [Mitsis, former news editor at the Athens News] and I went down to the scene. From taxis, cars and open windows, we could still hear the cries for help from the radio station that the students had built inside the Polytechnio - a radio station that had a broadcasting radius of around five kilometres. For days now, it had seemed that everyone in Athens listened to that brave little channel - not even the most brutal of policemen had the chance to stop that.
Well, at that late hour, the streets were full of policemen, and we heard shots. Somewhere behind the Polytechnio, we rounded a corner and, from the horde of policemen, came a bullet passing one or two centimetres from our faces.
After that, my memories are like a surrealistic dream. We were shocked and didn't even mention our near-to-death experience. We went home to Kolonaki and sat, dazed, with the radio between us until around five o'clock in the morning when the last gasp was heard and the station was silenced.
So many things happened afterwards, and for a long time, Dinos went into hiding, chased by dictator Ioannides' police, probably for having helped to spread the news to Scandinavia.
I think it wasn't until a year after that that we talked about our near-death experience.
November 17 was the decisive event in the countdown to the collapse of the seven-year dictatorship a few months later. Journalist Mario Modiano of the Times recalled the night the junta collapsed, which was marked by the return of Constantine Karamanlis from self-imposed exile in Paris:
It was a night unlike any other night. The spectacle was magnificent and heart-warming. Above all, this was a rare occasion for a journalist to watch happy history in the making.
Constantine Karamanlis, the former prime minister, was coming home after 11 years of self-imposed exile in Paris. He had been invited to return and restore democracy in Greece.
It was one of those rare moments when all the Greeks agreed that he was the only man who could pull the country back from the brink of war, just as a seven-year-long military dictatorship was collapsing under the onus of its own blunders.
As I rushed to the airport by taxi before midnight, I could see hundreds of thousands of jubilant Athenians lining the road to Hellenikon to welcome their own Cincinnatus. Most of them held lit tapers as on Resurrection night.
It was a rewarding sight for a foreign correspondent who had watched with great revulsion and hurt Greece suffering the indignity of being railroaded for seven years by a band of uncultured and inept army officers
My thanks to the Athens News for this account.
Jane x

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Workers cut power to ministry; Samaras calls for exemptions

16 Nov 2011

Nikos Fotopoulos, president of Genop-DEI, speaks outside the health ministry on 16 November 2011 (Eurokinissi)

Nikos Fotopoulos, president of Genop-DEI, speaks outside the health ministry on 16 November 2011 (Eurokinissi)
The health ministry was left without power this morning after power workers cut the electricity supply in a symbolic protest against the government’s property tax.
The property tax is being levied through electricity bills. Workers complain that they are not a tax-collecting agency.
Unionists have repeatedly refused to cut the power of low income earners who cannot pay.
Trade unionists from Genop-DEI, which represents employees in the state-run Public Power Corporation (DEI), said that it was "unacceptable " that while the state owes the PPC 141m euros, it was at the same time "giving orders for the electricity supply to be cut to the poor, the unemployed and the small-pension earners".
In a statement, Genop-DEI said claimed the health ministry owes 3.8m in upaid electricity bills alone.
Recent court rulings have said that consumers cannot pay the electricity part of the bill separately. Therefore, if they fail to pay the property tax, the PPC must proceed to cut the power. The company has also ended a practice that allowed people to pay their bills in instalments.
"We will not allow it. We will stop, in any way we can, the cutting of power in the houses of the poor, the unemployed, the pensioner, the low-wage earner," GEnop-DEI president Nikos Fotopoulos told Net television.
"Electricity cannot be used as a lever for blackmail."
Genop said that PPC is owed a total of 856m in unpaid bills, a figure it expects to surge as a result of the imposition of the property tax.
Well done those workers who cut the ministry's electricity off. How come the government has been allowed to accrue such debts? The people who work in those offices should be out on their heals - and it comes from the top! I am already thinking about how to survive if I cannot pay my electricity bill. At least we have wood for the fire, so cooking is not a problem, or hot water. My computer, I would certainly miss, but hey, Valentino Cello does not need electricity. We shall have music, and maybe visit the cafeneo more - that is unless they are cut off too. Hm, it could be a challenge of a winter!
I have done my exercises today, and had my daily porridge, so now I am going to relax infront of the TV while I can.

Have a good evening,
Love Jane x

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Miss Starbeach 2011 Crete

If it's as grey a day with you as it is with me, thought you might like something to perk you up. To all you guys out there, enjoy a bit of Cretan summer. To all you ladies who want to look like Miss Star Beach - It's a very narrow window!

Probably back to the doom and gloom of politics, and the strain of my 5 minute workout, tomorrow. See you then.

Love Jane x

Hello Paul, I am just about to do my daily practice, vibrato!
Lovely doggies! You will know what I mean. Oh, and can't wait to see you, I nead some fingering sorting out. Byeeee!

Monday, November 14, 2011


Hello, Happy Monday!

According to a report in the Athens News today: 'In Greece, it still takes more than 10 days to start a business, about two months to get electricity, 18 days to register a property, and as many as 800 days to enforce a contract.'

And to close a business is also a nightmare. I am being charged 500 euro by the tax man to close the business I opened in Vrahassi, namely 'Jane Guevara's Revolution Bar'. It doesn't seem to count that the business never made a profit. And the problem is that I cannot afford to pay this debt and it will increase every month until I can. As I am still paying off the 500 euro charge for space to put my chairs and tables on the pavement, my debt will continue to increase. I should never have bothered!

 The fact is, that there will be thousands like me who just cannot pay anything. It is very depressing!

Here is what one of our MPs has to say about it.
by Kathy Tzilivakis

THE WARNING lights are flashing. Greece no longer has the luxury of waiting. Ruling Pasok MP Elena Panaritis says time is running out fast. 
In an interview with the Athens News, Panaritis draws on her extensive experience as an institutional economist who has worked at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). She says the current mess is a rare confluence of both crisis and opportunity - a chance to remake the Greek economy. 
“What we really need now is to just bite the bullet and keep working hard,” she points out. “That’s all we need to do.”
Panaritis was one of George Papandreou’s top economic advisors. She was actually handpicked by Papandreou, who personally called her in 2009 to request she serve as one of Pasok’s statewide MPs. 
Asked about the government’s decision on a national unity government to lead Greece until elections, possibly as early as February 2012, she says it’s a “mature” decision. She also said Lucas Papademos, former Bank of Greece governor, is a “good choice” to head the new government.
“I think it’s a choice of trying to connect and unite the people from the bottom up so that we can proceed with the necessary structural reforms,” she explains. “The first job facing the new government is to establish systems by which we can rebuild our trust, not only between ourselves and the public, but with our [international] donors and other European Union partners.”
If this new unity government does its job well, Panaritis believes it could finally calm Greek politics.
Until then, however, Greece will continue fighting a losing battle against speculators increasingly betting that Greece will default on its debt. There’s far less consensus these days about whether Greece can avoid an imminent and rather messy default. 
Hardly anyone is expecting a big snapback. Europe’s patience has already run out. Greece’s exit from the euro - the common currency shared by Greece and 16 other members of the European Union - is now being openly discussed. 
This would be a nightmare scenario, according to the economist. She says that Greece’s coffers are almost empty. The country will go broke if it doesn’t get the 130 billion euro emergency funding (a bailout package agreed by the European Union on October 26-27) and a 50 percent writeoff of the country’s huge debt to European banks. 
“We will run out of money,” Panaritis warns. “We will default.”
Greece has so far succeeded in averting a domestic, European and international financial calamity. But for how long? 
In a July article in The Globalist, an online political magazine, Panaritis explained why Greece’s default would be a “catastrophe”. 
“It would not just be a bad turn of events, it would be a living nightmare,” she writes. “And I am being very honest when I say this. I know firsthand what it would be like. I have watched countries default back when I worked with Latin American countries in the 1990s and early 2000s while at the World Bank.”
As for the threat of Greece being evicted from the eurozone today, she says it’s “very real”.

Makes me long for a bottle of Beaujolais - better start running now!
Love Jane x







YOU CAN CALL AT …6944547002

Please help if you can. Jane x

Sunday, November 13, 2011


In remebrance of all who gave their lives for their country.
Two poems which I wrote way back.


But we waited, our eyes
Like the lights of the weaving shed,
Silently watching the angry rise,

Black silhouettes, our heads
Among boulders bobbed blind
Through the wet, muddy bed,

And bursting, our minds
Saw the red of the Matador’s bull,
And the snorting began, and the pound

Of the charge, and the beat
Of our feet as we zapped and yelled,
And fired, and shelled, and hit -

Aaagghh! Was it Hell
We offered those beef-boys that night -
Our blood-curdling cry, was it Hell,

Like the Jehad, we fought
Till the mount was our own,
And the colours were bought

With the blood of our homespun
Pride. The bazooka man (who died,
My friend, my aide, was one

Whose northern fabric frayed:
Blown to bits by an Argy. Bomb)
Now lies in communal grave.

We shall not forget our Tom,
Mount Kent, Mount William, or Tumbledown,
Or the long slog there from

Plymouth sound, where our band
Played us out with imperial rock,
And Aunt Flo waved a flag, and a hand.

Copyright Jane Sharp

Chapped legs knocking,
Face icy red,
Remembering, remembering,
Remembering the dead,
Remembering what?
On that cold November day,
In the midst of dark statues
Shrouded in grey.
Like great looming tombs,
In Victorian guise,
Stiff to attention,
Tears in their eyes,
Two big bosomed ladies,
Coloured with honours,
Arms full of flowers,
And heads in fox-collars,
Stepped forward with grace
(how could they faulter)
Like virginal nuns
Approaching the altar.

All noise ceased: thought filled the skies;
A little girl prayed with tight-shut eyes.
The bugler played that familiar tune,
And the flag of the Legion was
Slowly brought down.
A motor car passed,
Again, and again,
Abide with me,

Copyright Jane Sharp

It has been a wonderfully warm, cosy afternoon by the fire, here in Crete.
Love Jane x


The Christmas Truce

A poem for Armistice Day

Read by 150 people including:Remove from timeline
Illustration by David Roberts Illustration by David Roberts Christmas Eve in the trenches of France,
the guns were quiet.
The dead lay still in No Man's Land –
Freddie, Franz, Friedrich, Frank . . .

The moon, like a medal, hung in the clear, cold sky.
Silver frost on barbed wire, strange tinsel,
sparkled and winked.
A boy from Stroud stared at a star
to meet his mother's eyesight there.

An owl swooped on a rat on the glove of a corpse.
In a copse of trees behind the lines,
a lone bird sang.
A soldier-poet noted it down – a robin
holding his winter ground

then silence spread and touched each man like a hand.
Somebody kissed the gold of his ring;
a few lit pipes;
most, in their greatcoats, huddled,
waiting for sleep.

The liquid mud had hardened at last in the freeze.
But it was Christmas Eve; believe; belief
thrilled the night air,
where glittering rime on unburied sons
treasured their stiff hair.

The sharp, clean, midwinter smell held memory.
On watch, a rifleman scoured the terrain –
no sign of life,
no shadows, shots from snipers,
nowt to note or report.

The frozen, foreign fields were acres of pain.
Then flickering flames from the other side
danced in his eyes,
as Christmas Trees in their dozens shone,
candlelit on the parapets,
and they started to sing, all down the German lines.
Men who would drown in mud, be gassed, or shot,
or vaporised
by falling shells, or live to tell,
heard for the first time then –
Stille Nacht. Heilige Nacht. Alles schläft, einsam wacht …

Cariad, the song was a sudden bridge
from man to man;
a gift to the heart from home,
or childhood, some place shared …

When it was done, the British soldiers cheered.
A Scotsman started to bawl The First Noel
and all joined in,
till the Germans stood, seeing
across the divide,
the sprawled, mute shapes of those who had died.

All night, along the Western Front, they sang,
the enemies –
carols, hymns, folk songs, anthems,
in German, English, French;
each battalion choired in its grim trench.

So Christmas dawned, wrapped in mist,
to open itself
and offer the day like a gift
for Harry, Hugo, Hermann, Henry, Heinz …
with whistles, waves, cheers, shouts, laughs.
Frohe Weinachten, Tommy! Merry Christmas, Fritz!

A young Berliner,
brandishing schnapps,
was the first from his ditch to climb.
A Shropshire lad ran at him like a rhyme.

Then it was up and over, every man,
to shake the hand
of a foe as a friend,
or slap his back like a brother would;

exchanging gifts of biscuits, tea, Maconochie's stew,
Tickler's jam … for cognac, sausages, cigars,
beer, sauerkraut;
or chase six hares, who jumped
from a cabbage-patch, or find a ball
and make of a battleground a football pitch.

I showed him a picture of my wife.
Ich zeigte ihm
ein Foto meiner Frau.
Sie sei schön, sagte er.
He thought her beautiful, he said.

They buried the dead then, hacked spades
into hard earth
again and again, till a score of men
were at rest, identified, blessed.
Der Herr ist mein Hirt … my shepherd, I shall not want.

And all that marvellous, festive day and night,
they came and went,
the officers, the rank and file,
their fallen comrades side by side

beneath the makeshift crosses of midwinter graves …
… beneath the shivering, shy stars
and the pinned moon
and the yawn of History;
the high, bright bullets
which each man later only aimed at the sky.

The Christmas Truce, by Carol Ann Duffy, illustrated by David Roberts, is published by Picador (£5.99). To order a copy for £4.79 with free UK p&p call Guardian book service on 0330 333 6846 or go to

Love Jane x

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Watch Atlas sprint

by George Gilson
11 Nov 2011

Members of the newly appointed government swear in during a ceremony at the presidential mansion in Athens, 11 November 2011. REUTERS/Yiorgos Karahalis

Members of the newly appointed government swear in during a ceremony at the presidential mansion in Athens, 11 November 2011. REUTERS/Yiorgos Karahalis

The release of a sixth tranche of EU-IMF loans, to the tune of eight billion euros, is the government’s most pressing priority. Then it must undertake the daunting task of passing and implementing the harshest austerity programme in decades.
The new government’s programme will be presented in a televised address by Papademos, during the government’s first confidence vote, expected by Sunday night.
The new cabinet is the product of 24-hours of feverish negotiations, reflecting balances within and between parties, as well as between the new prime minister and the three coalition partners.
The vast majority of ministers are from Pasok -most keeping their former posts - which retains its parliamentary majority.
But there is broad, high-level representation by the other two coalition partners: main opposition conservative New Democracy and, further to the right, Yiorgos Karatzaferis’ Popular Orthodox Rally (Laos).
In a sign of stability, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos and two of his deputies will stay on.
But it is clear that economic policy will be fashioned and monitored personally by Papademos, a former vice-president of the European Central Bank.
As deputy finance minister, a top economic advisor to conservative New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras, University of Macedonia macroeconomics professor Yiannis Mourmouras, will guarantee an input of ND, which has maintained it has a better economic policy mix than that followed by Greece’s EU-IMF lenders.
New Democracy’s fate is now inextricably linked to that of Greece’s bailout, as the main opposition has picked up the top portfolios of foreign affairs and defence.
Former European Commissioner Stavros Dimas, a moderate who until now was one of two ND vice-presidents, will undertake to repair Greece’s damaged credibility both within the EU and internationally.
He takes office at a time of economic crisis when many believe there may be challenges to Greece’s national interests. Mild-mannered, Dimas has held top cabinet posts in older ND governments.
Dimitris Avramopoulos - a former diplomat-turned-politician who has served as health minister and earlier as Athens mayor, takes the defence portfolio at a time of heightened Turkish threats over Cyprus’ hydrocarbon programme.
Papademos chose one of his most trusted confidants, former Pasok minister Tassos Giannitsis to assume the crucial interior ministry. There, he must lay the groundwork for the restructuring and rationalisation of Greek public administration. He must also undertake the painful implementation of the unified pay structure, with deep, new civil service wage cuts.
Both Papademos and Giannitsis, another disciple of fiscal discipline, were close friends and in the inner political circle of former Pasok premier Costas Simitis, who ruled with the mantra of modernisation.
The new boy on the block is Yiorgos Karatzaferis’ rightwing Laos party. He was rewarded for his long-standing advocacy of a coalition with four government portfolios, taken by his top MPs and his party’s vice-president.
Makis Voridis MP takes the key infrastructure transport, and networks ministry, at a time when the unblocking of four major highway projects is crucial for releasing EU funding and spurring development.
He will also have to deal with the huge backlash from taxi drivers and truckers against the liberalisation of their industries.
Horst Reichenbach, the head of the European Commission Task Force that will oversee implementation of the Greek bailout terms, cited the highway projects as a top priority.
The other three Laos posts are at the level of deputy minister, including Adonis Georgiadis as deputy development minister, responsible for shipping.
Many, including ND, have advocated the restoration of a separate shipping ministry, as Greek shipowners play a leading role in international shipping.
Asteris Rontoulis becomes deputy minister for rural development and food.
Former ambassador Georgios Georgiou, Laos vice-president and Karatzaferis’ closest party confidant, will serve as alternate defence minister.
Four women will sit in the cabinet: Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou, Alternate Foreign Minister Mariliza Xenoyiannakopoulou, Alternate Interior Minister Fofi Yennimata, and Deputy Education Minister Evi Christofilopoulou. All four were in the former Pasok government.
The parliamentary debate (usually three days) leading to the constitutionally mandated vote of confidence is expected to begin later today or tomorrow.
Received after the swearing-in ceremony by the outgoing premier at the prime minister’s mansion, Papademos praised George Papandreou’s “huge effort over the last two years” toward stabilisation and adjustment.

Supermarket Shopping in Crete November 2011

As a record of what some of the supermarket foodstuff costs, I took this video in Neapolis yesterday. It will be interesting to compare a few prices in a month's time from now. As you can see our local Xalkiadakis supermarket is well set out, has a good selection of fresh veg and a passable fresh meat counter. It is a clean shop and the assistants are very pleasant (except for bad hair days - and we all get them from time to time). Outside there is good parking. Generally speaking there is a variety of food and necessities such as cleaning materials, toilet rolls etc,. It is only a small shop, but quite adequate for basic weekly needs. And parking is very easy.

I am living with my limp and looking forward to a good long walk with no pain.

Last night we had friends round for supper and I overdosed on cheesecake. The result was a dodgy tummy all night. Only myself to blame! I missed Greek class as a consequence and am very cross with myself.

Hello Eva - yes it was a pleasant coffee break.
Hello The Gang and Eric, thinking of you this Saturday evening, hope all is well.
Happy Saturday to everyone.

Love Jane x

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Neapolis, Crete, in November Sunshine

It was so good to get out of the house today, but foot is far from being okay. I'm still limping. Maybe another week will see it right. Apart from the slight inconvenience I'm enjoying this lovely November weather. I must say that I am feeling very price conscious at the moment, as the money in my purse is not stretching very far. I filmed my visit to the supermarket in Neapolis, and I will post it tomorrow. It is really as a record of today's grocery prices. The cheapest sugar I could find was 1.12 euro, maybe it is cheaper in Lidle's but the petrol cost to get there would wipe out the saving. My bargain of the day was a half litre of wine and mezze for 2.50 euro, not bad for two people, but it wasn't anywhere posh! Still, you'd be hard pushed to find anywhere posh in Neapolis. Beggers can't be choosers as they say!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Meeting to name new PM ends without agreement

Political leaders are to meet with President Karolos Papoulias for a second time on Thursday at 10 a.m. after talks aimed at agreeing on the formation of an interim government reached an impasse on Wednesday.
It had appeared that parliamentary speaker Filippos Petsalnikos was to be appointed prime minister after Prime Minister George Papandreou made a televised address announcing he was stepping down.
However, a meeting with New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras and Papoulias, which began at about 6.30 p.m. ended without agreement.
The leader of the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) Giorgos Karatzaferis stormed out of the talks, claiming that he had been kept waiting in a side room while Papandreou, Samaras and Papoulias held talks in a meeting room.
Karatzaferis said that he rejected the option of appointing Petsalnikos, an experienced politician but with a long association with PASOK.
The LAOS leader said that former European Central Bank Vice President Lucas Papademos is the only suitable candidate.

Oh dear! The talking goes on!

Love Jane x

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


I DO BELIEVE THAT WE HAVE A NEW PRIME MINISTER - Mr Lucas Papademos, former Bank of Greece governor and ex-European Central Bank vice president.

The new measures to tax the population of Greece are already causing problems.

 Public Power Corporation on Tuesday announced that it has set up a special hotline to deal with hundreds of complaints from consumers around the country who have received larger-than-expected bills for an emergency property tax levied through their electricity bill.  According to the majority of complaints received by PPC representatives across Greece, the square meterage of hundreds of properties -- which is one of the factors in the complex formula used to assess property tax, together with the location and age of the property, and the so-called objective value, a bracket set by the Finance Ministry to control real estate prices -- was inflated.  It is the job of each individual municipality to submit to PPC the details of every declared property in its domain, with which it levies the municipal tax that is also charged through PPC bills. A spokesperson for PPC on Tuesday said that the discrepancies in the new emergency property tax are the responsibility of the municipal authorities rather than the electricity provider, though it added that consumers who have any questions regarding the tax they are being asked to pay can call the toll-free hotline on 214.214.1000 for advice.  In the case of sensitive social groups, like pensioners and disable people, the General Secretariat for Information Systems of the Finance Ministry has set up an SMS (on tel 54160) and web ( service to deal with claims of over-charging.  Other consumers who believe that they are being asked to pay more than their proper dues are required to pay their property tax and PPC in full and to then apply for a refund via their next electricity bill.  PPC has been ordered to cut the electricity supply of anyone who refuses to pay the property tax.     Property tax drive starts with problems  Public Power Corporation on Tuesday announced that it has set up a special hotline to deal with hundreds of complaints from consumers around the country who have received larger-than-expected bills for an emergency property tax levied through their electricity bill.  According to the majority of complaints received by PPC representatives across Greece, the square meterage of hundreds of properties -- which is one of the factors in the complex formula used to assess property tax, together with the location and age of the property, and the so-called objective value, a bracket set by the Finance Ministry to control real estate prices -- was inflated.  It is the job of each individual municipality to submit to PPC the details of every declared property in its domain, with which it levies the municipal tax that is also charged through PPC bills. A spokesperson for PPC on Tuesday said that the discrepancies in the new emergency property tax are the responsibility of the municipal authorities rather than the electricity provider, though it added that consumers who have any questions regarding the tax they are being asked to pay can call the toll-free hotline on 214.214.1000 for advice.  In the case of sensitive social groups, like pensioners and disable people, the General Secretariat for Information Systems of the Finance Ministry has set up an SMS (on tel 54160) and web ( service to deal with claims of over-charging.  Other consumers who believe that they are being asked to pay more than their proper dues are required to pay their property tax and PPC in full and to then apply for a refund via their next electricity bill.  PPC has been ordered to cut the electricity supply of anyone who refuses to pay the property tax.

I took the above from part of an article in the Ekathemirina newspaper.

Now I am about to watch Dr Who on the telly. It was a lovely sunny day today, and my foot has responded well to harsh words.
Love Jane x