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Moving to Corfu
Graham
13/02/2015, Paleokastritsa, Corfu

We have bought a great little secluded place in Paleokastritsa, Corfu and are moving in on the 28th May, coincidentally our wedding anniversary. We'll have a potentially hectic four weeks in the UK trying to work out where in England we have actually stored all of our possessions over the past couple of decades...The rest of the summer and time leading up to Christmas will be spent sorting our new place out. It is in good structural condition but needs some maintenance and minor decoration such as...strip out entire bathroom and redecorate, strip out entire kitchen and redecorate, convert the jungle into a garden, replace all of the rusted garden and terrace railings, resolve the basement flooding issue, etc. All of this will of course be preceded by setting up a workshop in the outhouse to enable all of the above to be achieved. Oh, and we need to replace the asbestos roof with one less offensive to the environment. We have some big ideas on generating some of our own energy, the techniques of which were learned through living onboard Quasar IV for 3 years making all of our own power. The aim is to reduce our water, heating and lighting bills to a minimum. If it works, I'll write a book and sell it to the other expats who live there constantly complaining about how expensive it is to heat their swimming pools and import fresh veggies from Waitrose in the UK ;-) Our swimming pool is the ocean and our veggie supplier is the local market if the back garden plan vegetable patch doesn't quite work out which I suspect may be the case given my lack of 'green fingers' at the moment. Another new skill to learn....along with the Greek language of course...no more time to work! So for now, 'Yassas!'

Leaving Saudi Arabia
Graham/Hot!
13/02/2015, Riyadh

The time has now come for us to finally leave Saudi Arabia, at 0135 hrs on the 1st May to be precise, not that we are counting the days! Life has been very unusual over here but, as a means to an end, has been a complete success. For me, the constant very heavy workload associated with operations work, 24/7, has finally got the better of me and I am calling it a day so that I stand a better chance of living to enjoy my retirement, albeit part time I suspect! For Tracey, the inability to get official work, not being able to drive a car and have to stay covered up in black in the hottest country in the world has not really made for the best time here in Riyadh. KyteMarque crochet animal production has however been very successful and is likely to continue in Corfu I suspect. The many dust storms we experience cause havoc with breathing and generate many respiratory difficulties. It has not however been unmanageable here. The Saudis are very hospitable as a nation, fuel is £0.16 a litre (it costs £4.50 to fill the tank of our Toyota 4x4!), the geology of the country is fascinating and provided the opportunity for some spectacular photographs, and the annual Janadriyah Cultural Festival started in 1985 with 30,000 visitors, now attracts 4 million visitors each year, with great dancing, food and many other attractions including camel racing which is hilarious to watch. Despite the many interesting things to do here, living 400 km from the sea in a dust bowl is not conducive to getting any sailing, diving or horse riding in, so we are now departing the Kingdom for Corfu, where all such activities are available within 25 minutes walking or driving from our front door. Tricky decision as to whether to move or not ... :-).

Wahba Crater Trip - April 2012
Graham
20/04/2012, 700 km West of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

It's been quite some time since I had anything to add to 'The Blog', as to be quite honest, I am simply working flat out here in Saudi! However, we have finally managed to get away from it all last weekend and went off on a small camping expedition to the Wahba Crater, about 700 km west of Riyadh, towards Jeddah. Departing Wednesday afternoon, it was a heck of a long drive after a 5 am start and nearly a full day's work, and the last 3 hours driving in the dark was a bit of a challenge, especially the 10 km 'off road' near the crater, in the dark, in the rain, with the thunder and lightning...reminds me of the Atlantic Crossing in 2008! Anyway, arrived, set up camp, cooked dinner, went to bed, and set off at 9-30am on Thursday morning down into the Wahba Crater, a spectacular sight in Saudi, formed from volcanic activity beneath the earth 'a few years back'... Some photos are here which I hope you enjoy. You can read all about the crater by typing in the name to Google. There were twelve of us in all, spread across six cars and tents, no casualties, and a great time was had by all, although a few people were starting to wish that they had spent more time in the gym before going! Hard on the knees going down, and hard full stop coming back up in the heat! So there you have it - proof that we actually still alive!

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