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New Car
25/08/2015, Paleokastritsa, Corfu

After three months of searching the internet and decrypting Greek into English, we have purchased a car. It's a 2006 yellow Fiat Panda 1.1 litre petrol, with about 98,000 km on the clock. It runs well, has a few minor things that need straightening out starting with replacement of the two front shock absorbers. The great thing about owing a Fiat in Corfu is that it is very cheap and very easy to get repaired. Parts are a fraction of the cost that they are in the UK and work can usually be completed on the same day. I would replace the shocks myself but the tool I need to compress the springs to separate them from the struts costs more that a shock absorber! No point in wasting money here, one for the local garage I feel. The car runs very well, is very economical, cheap to tax and insure and has plenty of room inside when the back seats are hinged down. I also have a set of roof bars on order so we can carry extra passengers on the roof as long as the total weight does not exceed 50kg :-). Certainly good enough for two airport suitcases for any future visitors leaving room inside the car for the actual passengers! Tomorrow is our Quiz Number 3 at Angels Pool Bar, so time will be spent over the next day preparing the quiz. This will be our third quiz and they get better each time; I wish I could say the same for some of the customers!

The wood has arrived - well, most of it ...
19/08/2015, Paleokastritsa, Corfu

After the initial complexities of ordering the timber we required from the local timber merchant in Corfu town, working out how to actually pay given the restrictions on currency flow at the moment here in Greece, it was great news hearing those words from the timber yard by telephone "Mr Graham...your wood is ready for delivery. Can you call in and check it out first.....". No problem, I'll just walk 20 miles to the timber yard and check it out! Yes, we still have no car! Plan B worked smoothly though, hiring a scooter for the day for £10-50 (!) including fuel, visiting the timber yard, checking the delivery, then travelling another 50 km to Roda on the north coast and back to look at a possible car for buying; quite a busy day. Two days later a very large crane appeared at our gate, blocked the main access road for about 20 minutes and "air-lifted" our delivery into the front garden. I paid the delivery driver his 40 Euros and we then set to with moving the wood from the front garden into the outhouse in the back garden as well as into the basement. This stage took about two hours! There was a lot of wood and it was VERY heavy, especially the 8 x 4 feet 3/4" plywood sheets, all nine of them....Pleased as punch that the wood had finally arrived, I was not aware at this stage of the missing items but soon would be as the first task I had in mind for the weekend was to build the fly screens and mosquito netting frames for the windows. Start simple I thought, what can possibly go wrong; nothing, as the wood I needed for this task had not been delivered! Further investigation also revealed three sheets of MDF were missing that were required for the workshop worktops, task number two on the master plan. Now resolved, we are patiently awaiting the next delivery so we can get started on these items. So essentially work is progressing at about the same speed as traffic on the M25 during Friday rush hours. The delivery mix up has not caused a major problem as paint stripping continues on the three tables, quite a substantial task. The Bosch mitre saw has also now been powered up and allowed me to cut all of the pieces required to build our veranda sofa, the first of three, in record time. What a fantastic piece of equipment! It cuts through massive pieces of wood like a hot knife though butter and is laser-guided so incredibly accurate. Now I have all of the pieces, I have the DIY book open and looking at the best way to connect them all together. Now, over to YouTube for my next mortice and tenon joint instructional video.

Refurbishment Commences!
16/08/2015, Paleokastritsa, Corfu

So, here we are, nearly a month further on, time having really flown over the past few weeks. We are still progressing slowly but have finally got some construction work underway, evidence above in the photo! Well, not exactly construction in this case, more refurbishment really. When we moved in, there were three old tables that we discovered had been left behind by the previous owners, probably due to the very poor condition that they were in but nothing that cannot be rectified using the Bosch collection of tools starting with the hot air paint stripper which has come into its own over the past few weeks. About 70% of the paint has now been stripped from the three tables, the more tricky areas being left to last of course! All sanding options are being tried; sandpaper on a cork block, palm sander, belt sander, orbital sander, etc... the winning item without doubt being the Bosch orbital sander which is fantastic at working on flat and curved surfaces alike. The wood is coming up like new although I suspect that the cost of the sanding disks that I will have used by the end of the project may actually exceed the cost of buying a new table! Still, good practice using the tools for the new furniture building which is yet to be started. Once the wood arrives (now ordered), the first job is to sort out a workshop area and to coax the resident rat out of the outhouse which is proving a bit of a challenge as we are baffled as to where he is getting in - he is exceptionally sneaky and intelligent but is sure to need a new home soon! Perhaps he'll just join the rest of the rats in the roof rafters of the main house....

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