I’d put some washing in the machine for Marie-Christine which I said would be delivered at 06:00. Isabella and I went out of the van so that she could say good morning to Obi, who prefers to sleep outside. I slipped off into the darkness to feed cats then collect the washing and drop it off to Marie-Christine without disturbing Georgia’s dogs. The mission was accomplished silently.

From there, the other dogs had their collars put on and we went for our walk. It was cooler than the previous day so we kept a good pace going. I wanted to be able to keep the dogs together so had set up the spare controller for Charlie, Oskar and Luis making it easier. Six dogs on one controller is quite slow to select the dogs increasing response time. The other style of controller has one button per dog giving instant access. I also wanted to get Charlie to keep up with the others which is difficult when I have to keep switching back and forth.

I managed to get the dogs to stay closer together which makes them easier to manage. It seemed to get lighter earlier today as I could see the dogs quite well at 06:45. There are a couple more weeks until the winter solstice but not until 12 January before sunrise is earlier. We passed Plakaki silently and then down to the end of the beaches for a brief stop before returning.

The wind had changed direction so we were able to cross the rocks on the second sweep of the Promontory without too much risk of wet feet. We met the couple whose dog had raced off pursued by Luis. They were out looking for her. We had a brief conversation where I told them we’d been down to the roadworks and back and had seen no sign of the dog. The guy had worked at the camping a couple of years but I didn’t recognise him due to his dark glasses and beard.

I took the dogs back then rode into Paleochora to buy some fresh ginger which I’d forgotten the day before. At least it was a bike ride with a purpose.

I took a diversion up the river to look for the missing dog then went through the greenhouses to see if I could spot it there. I had a wash to put in for Achim so needed to be back by 09:30.

A pair of boys accosted me as I parked my bike at the camping and asked me about a missing dog. I assumed it was the same dog which was chased by Luis the previous evening but the names didn’t match so it must be another. I told them I’d not seen any dog and the places where I’d looked. They thanked me and left.

Breakfast was rather late and almost lunch by the time I’d finished chatting on the phone and in person to Nikos who seems to be struggling a little at present.

It would soon be time for my weekly call home which turned out to be shorter than normal.

That call was followed by calls to Ursula, Eleanor and Terry at which point Georgia arrived. She was instructing Tony about some tasks including the roofing felt on M6 bathroom. We had a conversation where we discussed a number of topics.

She was surprised that Moustache had put on so much weight since the summer until I pointed out she was pregnant. Georgia proposed we should gather up all the cats and take them to the vet in the Spring. I didn’t want to let on that, if it hadn’t been for the lockdown, they would already have been done. I now have Royal Ascent!

There has been only one booking for next summer and that is from a couple of friends who are frequent visitors. Normally, there are loads of emails and booking for the next summer but this year virtually none.

We agreed that the present restrictions and lockdown were likely to continue in some shape or form until April or May and next summer could be a little thin on the ground.

Georgia mentioned she’d spoken to an important medical man in Athens, a friend of many years. She asked him about the wisdom of the COVID vaccination. He suggested she shouldn’t rush into anything and leave it for several months before making any decision. It’s likely there will be limited take-up as most Greeks will be unwilling to get vaccinated. I think I’d prefer to keep being careful and take my chances.

She then took me back to her place which has been stripped out for the dogs. There is virtually no furniture only three old mattresses on the bare concrete floor. The doors to the living accommodation are kept closed. Here, she presented me with fresh lemons from the family trees as well as around 2kg of sea salt she’d collected last summer. I have enough salt to last me a while. I suspect it won’t be too long before Manolis and Litsa find a way back to the camping and I’ll receive plenty more lemons and oranges.

Time was now getting on so I gave her some of the money and then walked down to see if Mauro and Franca were in the camping. Shortly after, I received a message to say they were coming back from a ride and I should go without them. There were plenty of cars and people about so I thought it better to get the rice on for the dogs and not go for an evening walk since it was getting dark.

The dogs have waited patiently for their rice to cook however I didn’t put enough water in it so there was a lot less bulky than usual. Isabella is topping up her meal with some carob pods. I cooked some rice for myself but am not amazingly hungry due to brunch but will now go in to put something together.


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