Believe it or not, Mister Ripley, this is Blog 300 of the current series. I say current series because there were Blogs that disappeared some time ago when my computer crashed and I don’t remember how many there were in that first lot; quite a few.
May 23 marked the beginning of Vamos Arts Week. How things have changed since, apart from one German, we were we were the first ex-pats to settle here just over fourteen years ago. Today there are hundreds of them and I have to say not all welcome. Monday evening saw the opening of an art and crafts exhibition and the week continues with a number of events: music, dance, shadow puppets, drama, poetry, film. Chris and Douglas are performing a programme they have called ‘Cole Porter and Friends,’ and judging by the rehearsing that’s been going on it should be a whale of a success. There have been other changes of course, not all for the better, such as when our favourite eating places close down because the patron and his wife grow too old to continue and the kids are not interested. This has happened not only here but in Chania and Athens and not just eating places. The baker we used to use in Athens for example disappeared one day and they made the best croissants in the world.
Athens evidently is becoming yet another crime ridden city, some of it centred around our area of Viktoria. We’ve noticed over the years more and more illegal immigrants congregating there, using the beautiful square for selling mostly pirated goods, and evidently break-ins have increased tenfold. Sad. A couple of years back there was an attempt to break into our flat but fortunately when restoring it we paid the equivalent of £1000 for a security door that withstood the attempt. It cost 50 euros to repair the damaged lock but cheap at the price. That door was the best insurance we ever bought.
There have been other changes of course. The recession has not been at all comfortable to put it mildly, for some downright disastrous, with many small businesses shutting down and unemployment rising, and Greece grows more and more expensive by the day. Our petrol is now the costliest in Europe and it takes almost a thousand euros to fill the central heating tank. But Crete is still a beautiful place to be.
There has also been a huge change in local government, individual village town halls giving way to a much wider responsibility covering the whole of the Apokoronos. A few months back we had elections, at which we were allowed to vote, and since then the winning party (who we voted for) have been beavering away forming new committees that now include ex-pats; so there is a committee for animal welfare, at last, and one for the environment, etcetera. It’s reform reform reform all the way. How long I wonder will the enthusiasm continue.