John and Julia Non-Sailing - Blog

Our non-sailing activities

Rhodes Trip 01-13 September 2022


This is the third year we have been going to Rhodes where we are always looked after by Stratos and his family. This year the weather was amazing, and it was over 30 degrees every day with blue skies and a breeze, but never too much breeze. As ever Stratos, Marianthi and Yannis were so good at looking after us, and we enjoyed every day.

Rhodes Thursday 01 September 2022

We were up at 0200, but in all honesty, neither of us had any sleep. I showered and the taxi arrived at 0230 – Bryan again. It was a clear run and we got to Gatwick in just over an hour. There was not much of a queue to drop bags, but the machine was confusing and we needed help twice. Then we found security wasn’t too bad and we got through smoothly. What we did notice was that the place was heaving. We were lucky to find a couple of seats and Julia got a coffee. We went to the gate on time, but we could see time drifting, and we could see that boarding was a joke. It was overcrowded and they didn't call rows, so it was uncontrolled and they loaded from both ends so people were crossing along the plane. We were due to leave at 0610, but got away at 0650. Rhodes is 2 hours in front and we had a quick flight and landed at 1225 local time. We were through passports in short order but then had to wait an hour for bags, which was sad. Stratos very kindly came and picked us up, and we crammed into his Fiat Panda. We then stashed the bags in the room, and went down for a well earned beer, and had some lunch. We had Platini eggs benedict, which is fried eggs on toast with the hollandaise sauce! Then we went to the supermarket and spent 100 euros on booze and essentials and then had a snooze. We then got up and had drinks on our fantastic balcony (room 203) with our usual music from our Bluetooth speaker brought from the kitchen at home, watching the sunset - the first of many. We then went down to dinner at 1930 and I had BBQ pork contosouvli, and Julia had chicken schnitzel. We had 2 carafes of house red with it and then we went back to the room and watched a bit more of House of the Dragon on Netflix but paused half way through and went to bed as we were so tired.

Rhodes Friday 02 September 2022

We slept in this morning and had coffees and Julia went to bag some sunbeds, although none had been bagged yet and this was 1130! How different to last year where it was a bit of a bun fight most days. At beer o'clock (1200 in this case, but it varies) I had a beer, and Julia an orange juice. At 1300 we came up for lunch and had the remains of her chicken schnitzel from the night before with mayo, and the pitta from last night. Then I had a snooze and we sun bathed. We were back in the room having showers about 1700 and then had drinks on our balcony with our music as usual. We then down to dinner and I had stuffed kebab and Julia had a lasagne thing called poistitsio, all washed down with 2 more carafes of house red. We then went back to the room and watched the other half of House of the Dragon and an Umbrella Academy and bed.

Rhodes Saturday 03 September 2022

We slept in until 0930 then I got up and shaved and showered and bagged some sunbeds as the only other ones with a shade had gone. Then after a bit, we went to the bakers and got bread and fresh orange juice and then into the supermarket again. We then back down to the sunbeds and had a beer and some perrrier and went up for lunch about 1345. We had ham and bread for lunch and then I had a snooze. We then went back down to the pool and chilled and sun bathed until 1700, when we came up and Julia showered. Then we went for a walk and booked a hire car and bought an ankle bracelet for Julia and into Stratos’ shop and bought some baklava as a present for Kevin and Jenni next door for looking after the flowers. Then we went back to the balcony to watch the sun set with beer and pink wine and Jax Jones on the music box. Then we went down to dinner and both had Moussaka, which was wonderful as ever washed down with more house wine. We then went back to the room and saw 2 episodes of Umbrella Academy to finish series 2 on Netflix.

Rhodes Sunday 04 September 2022

We slept in until 0930 and at 0945 I went down to get the sunbeds. I said hello to mama – Sophia. Julia came down a while later and we had the pool to ourselves most of the morning. At 1200 it was beer o'clock and then at 1300 we came up for lunch – today we had egg mayonnaise made by Julia with bread. In the afternoon we went back to sunbathing but the two girls from the family put some music on their phone which was quite close to me, which spoiled my peace a bit, so I had to go and get my headphones. We then went back to our balcony at 1700 to watch the sun set and have a couple of beers and some pink wine. Then we went down to dinner and both had whole sea bream with rose (pink) wine. Then we invited Oli and Hannah who we had been chatting to by the pool, up for drinks and they joined us on the balcony, and later we went down to drink and chat with Sophia and Stratos.

Rhodes Monday 05 September 2022

We were out on the sunbeds at 1030 this morning and it was nice and quiet. We then went to the supermarket and got a cooked chicken, and then back for beer o'clock. Today we had a slightly later lunch and then sunbathed. It was hotter today. We then went for a walk to Spohia’s dress shop and saw her there and had a chat and saw her new machine. We walked back along the beach and then Julia had a shower. Then we had drinks on the balcony and down to dinner for 1900. We had asked Yannis to get us steaks and he delivered with two huge T bones. It was too much to eat it all, so we took the remainder for a stir fry later in the week. Then we came back to the room and watched House of the Dragon.

Rhodes Tuesday 06 September 2022

We slept in a bit this morning,as we weren't bagging sunbeds and so got down a little later than planned and we had to wait 25 minutes for a taxi. But we got into Old Rhodes Town for about 1115. We noticed that there were many more people now that the pandemic has gone. I bought a Rhodes T-shirt, and we had orange juices in our usual bar and then we went on to La Veranda again, where we had pre-booked our table number 11. We got a very nice reception from the staff, and I had a beer and Julia had a tequila sunrise, and we ordered red wine and a shared plate of traditional Greek food. The meal was fabulous which ended with a nice moussaka in the middle. We sat and let it digest and they didn’t chase us for the bill which was nice. Then we shopped and found a nice gold chain shop where you can buy by the length. Julia got a proper ankle bracelet as the one I bought the other day disintegrated within a day, and after many years I decided I would go back to wearing a gold chain. It was 18 euros for Julia and 56 for mine and she sold us both for 70. We then walked down to the taxi rank and got a taxi back, dropping us off at the bakers, where we walked across the road a little to another supermarket that had Leffe and Stella, as our local one ran out of Stella and did not have a good range of beer. We then popped into the bakers and then back to the apartment. We met Annie out for a walk. She and her husband Christian we have met every year, but sadly this year he died. We then slept for an hour or so, and then Julia showered and we both did some time on our laptops. So much so we almost missed sundown. We had drinks and then we did Caesar salad, and watched a couple of Captures on iPlayer.

Rhodes Wednesday 07 September 2022

It was a bad night for me, as I couldn’t sleep well with the insect bites I have been getting which are huge and driving me crazy. Julia made coffee and I went down and bagged the sunbeds at 1000. We sunbathed all day and I read the Creek by LJ Ross in the day - a nice holiday trashy novel. It was quite busy by the pool today. Carly and family also arrived today. We got back up to the room and had a few beers and pink wine, and then down to dinner just after 1900 and the sunset. I had grilled squid, and it wasn’t as filling as some of Yannis’ dishes. Julia had a chicken and bacon kebab that was lovely, so I stole a couple of pieces and she still took 2 home. Back to the room and we watched an episode of Ridley but I kept falling asleep.

Rhodes Thursday 08 September 2022

Today was the first of two days car hire, so we were up and at the car hire place for 0915, and drove down to Ancient Kamiros where we walked around the amazing ruins. Then we drove down to Karimos proper which was mainly a strip of restaurants, and picked Dionysos Steki, and sat out on the terrace overlooking the sea. It was a lovely setting, and we both had a drink – Beer for me and iced coffee for Julia and then we had kalamari with chips. Then we had a walk about the grounds and then drove into Rhodes Town to go back to the jewellers and get another chain this time for Julia’s neck to replace her day to day one. Driving was crazy, and we passed a three car pile up. We managed to park right outside the gate and walked up and got a nice new chain at 30 euros, and then we drove down to Faliraki and Julia eventually found her old hotel again. Then we drove back to our hotel and had a few drinks on the balcony. We were saddened by the Queen’s death which was annoucned earlier today. Then we cooked a steak stir fry with the left overs from earlier in the week, which was lovely and then we tried to watch some TV but the internet – especially the BBC web site was overwhelmed by folk surfing about the Queen I think, so we gave up and went down to the bar and ended up chatting with Sophia Stratos, and Ron and Diana from Belgium and Carly’s mum.

Rhodes Friday 09 September 2022

Today we planned a day on the beach, and we were up and away shortly after nine in the car and got to Kallathea around 0945, which was a good time for picking a sunbed. We got a nice spot and discovered that the sunbeds came with a free juice, and 2 waters in an ice bucket which was a nice touch. We sunbathed and swam in the sea, and then at lunch time had club sandwiches in the restaurant. Julia had smoked salmon and I had chicken and bacon. We sunbathed until around 4pm, and then drove back, dropping our stuff off at the apartment, and then dropping the car back. We then both had showers and drinks on the balcony and watched another sunset. Carly came and said 'boo' and chatted to us for a while. Then we went down to dinner and we both had kebabs and then back up to watch a Suspect in ITV Player. BBC iPlayer refusing to work.

Rhodes Saturday 10 September 2022

We both slept well for a change. We read the papers and then I went down with my coffee to bag our sunbed spot and Julia followed later. We went to the supermarket and then had beer o’clock by the pool and lunch at around 1315 which was a mix of left overs. Then we went back to the pool and more sunbathing and book reading. We came in at 1700 and showered and took drinks again on the balcony and another stunning sunset. Then we went down to dinner to discover that our usual table was taken, which was a shame, and then the kleftiko we specially ordered wasn’t as good as we expected. We later discovered that it was made to a traditional greek recipe, which is what Yannis does, but we have been used to a different style back home with a lot less potatoes. We were both a bit tired amd so not getting our usual table and that made us both a bit down. We then came up to the room and tried unsuccessfully to view Shetland on the iPlayer and gave up as iPlayer just won’t work over a poor internet.

Rhodes Sunday 11 September 2022

I was up at 0845, shaved and showered and made coffee. Then I went down to bag a sunbed and read the paper and finished my book Paris by Starlight – it was a difficult book. Then we came up for lunch of egg mayo and ham, and then back to sunbathing. It was a very hot day. During the day we learned that our niece, Sammy had a baby boy. At 1700 we came up and showered and spoke to Neil and Jane on the phone about the planned sailing weekend with them. Then we watched the sun go down and walked to the Pizza place Napoli, where I had a meat lovers BBQ and Julia had ham, cheese mushroom and feta. It was a very nice meal. We then walked back and joined in the conversations in the bar and got to know Sanne and Chris from Holland, both in the Police and found out that Sanne was pregnant. We also spoke with Sophia, Carly and her folk, and the Scottish couple, who are always there for many weeks at a time.

Rhodes Monday 12 September 2022

We both slept well and got up at 0830. I went down to the pool at 0930 to bag sunbeds and read the paper. Julia joined me after an hour. We sunbathed and had beer o’clock and then came up to change and went out to lunch. We found Kostas at the end of the tourist street and had a lovely lunch which was beer, a carafe of rose and we shared seafood saganaki, kalamari, carlic bread and pitta. We were the only folks there. We walked back and resumed sunbathing, and started talking to Sanne and Chris our new Dutch friends, and we agreed for them to come to us for drinks and to have dinner together. They joined us on the balcony and we watched the sun go down over drinks. As usual Carly came and said boo. Then we went down to dinner and we all had the chicken and bacon kebabs. Then we retired to the bar and had a few more drinks and generally chatting to everyone.

Rhodes Tuesday 13 September 2022

We lazed in this morning as it’s our last day. I showered, and we went down to pay Stratos. Then we went for a long walk, and back for ouzo and an iced coffee, and after two croque madames, which were filling. Then we went back to the room for a final 20 minutes, and Stratos took us to the airport. We were in good time, and got through bag drop quickly, and straight through security. Then we bought some water and went through passports and then sat around for 2 hours. We got on the plane only 15 minutes late but then we had to wait whilst a helicopter delivered some VIPs to a private jet and that took off, and the helicopter left before we could go adding about 40 minutes. We then had a good flight and landed at 1930, whilst we were supposed to land at 1830. The bags didn't take too long to arrive, and we quickly found Bryan our taxi driver and were away from the airport shortly after 2000. It was raining. We got home just after nine, and ordered us a takeaway Indian from Miftas which we collected and Julia got some milk. So it was nearly 2200 before we ate, but the meal was nice. I had tandoori king prawn and Julia a tandoori duck tikka. We finally made bed about midnight.

Sunday lunch with Phil and Jane Ridgeway Sunday 31 July 2022

It was grey today and drizzling. We read the papers, and Julia popped out to Waitrose. Then we drove to Costco and sadly experienced some of the worst traffic I have seen outside of the rush hour! We then had to queue to get in the car park too. Anyway we did a basic shop and actually got away on time. We got to Jane and Phil’s and had starters of salmon and melon and then roast chicken. We sat outside for the main course, and the weather was not too bad considering it had been drizzling most of the morning. It was positively nice in some of the sunshine. We left at 1600 and Julia drove. When we got home it was the womens football euro final, but we read papers and kept an eye on the score expecting Germany to win. We had a light dinner, and then tuned in for the end of extra time and Wow! - England won 2-1 over Germany. We enjoyed watching the celebrations and then did a binge watch on Netflix to finally finish the Shannara Chronicles.

BBQ with Gillian Fleming Saturday 30 July 2022

We were both hungover this morning. I eventually got up and marinaded the pork and chicken and we had coffee. Julia went to the shops and it was a slow morning. I picked up Gillian at 1400 and the weather was nice enough to sit out. It was occasionally sunny, but although it was cloudy, it was warm. We had a pleasant drink and then I skewered the kebabs and did a great BBQ if I may say so. I got the meat just right and it was a lovely afternoon. Gillian walked home, and we watched some TV and were in bed by 9:30!

Oli came to pick up his stuff Friday 29 July 2022

We both had a light early lunch expecting Oli early afternoon, but he was held up by Em having the car. We sat in the sunshine and chilled. I popped out and got some more stella, and Oli arrived eventually at 1830. I then did a standard BBQ – sausages and burgers with baked potatoes. We drank a lot and chatted until late. Oli got up and left early the following morning.

Our 27th Wedding Anniversary Thursday 28 July 2022

Julia and I exchanged cards in the morning, but it was a work day for both of us. We both finished shortly after 5, and we had drinks and then went to Heaven’s Kitchen for rib eye steaks to celebrate. We came back home and watched the Shannara Chronicles on Netflix and then bed.

Alton Cricket Sun 26 June 2022

Julia and I had a lazy morning, and then walked over the Ridgeway to the Butts to see the Victorian Cricket, which was nice to see. It was very windy, with some sunny intervals. We went into the French Horn for a drink and discovered that the garden was sheltered and warm in the sunshine. So we sat out there for a while and then walked back.

Matilda second birthday party Sat 25 May 2022

We were up and away to my mum’s via the Co-op in Alton. We saw my mum for 40 minutes and then went on to the boat. I topped up the water, and the fuel, and loaded all the wine on board and moved stuff out of the focsle. Then we drove to Gilkicker and joined Matilda’s second birthday party on the grass with all our Area 15 mates. We took our chairs and a table and were very comfortable. A bit cloudy and cool, but nice when the sun came out. It was a lovely afternoon. Then Julia drove home, and we opened some St Emilion. I cooked a chicken teriyaki dish, and we watched a movie about whales / moby dick.

Grand Union narrow boating on Namaste 9-13 June 2022

Thursday 09 June 2022

Julia and I got away about 1430 and headed for Berkhamsted. The traffic was awful on M25 and at a standstill. So not a nice journey. We got close to bridge 143, and parked up all ok. Went aboard Namaste and learned that Chris wasn’t well, and would we help them get the boat back. Didn’t bother us much, so we said yes. We had drinks and went to Margos at the Old Mill, just up the road and had nice pizza.

Friday 10 June 2022

As plans had changed, we were going to have to push on and get through the miles, so we were up and away early. Because Chris needs to lie down a lot, we have been given the bed in the saloon, that doubles as a table. We actually found it nicer than the cabin! Anyway we were up and away at 0745, and I helmed until the locks, where I handed it to Gordon, and Julia and I did all the lock work. We stopped at Waitrose in Berkhamsted, and stopped for lunch on the way. Chris did cold meats and a salad. The weather was sunny but windy. We made it as far as Grove Lock, having started at lock 55, we made just above lock 28 and had one swing bridge on the way. The pub was busy but we did get a table easily enough. It was late so none of us showered, and we went out straight for dinner. Nice enough meal. I had ribeye, and Julia had lemon sole. Back to the boat for some more wine, and a whisky before bed.

Saturday 11 June 2022

Again we were up and away by 0745, and stopped at Tesco for more shopping. The weather was sunny but windy. We pushed on with me helming and doing the locks today and Gordon and Julia doing the gates. There was a big drama overtaking a very slow historic barge with a buttie in tow. I hit a moored boat! Anyway, no damage done, and I got straight back in the saddle and found a good spot for lunch too. Chris did bread and cheese and in the afternoon we pushed on through Milton Keynes which turned out to be nice. We had pre booked the Giffard Park whilst having lunch. On the way I had to overtake the pair again which was thrilling. We got there and parked right outside, and had drinks in the sunshine in the cockpit. Then dinner and it was a real cheap pub, but the food was ok. I had a sizzling skillet with pork belly and Julia had a burger.

Sunday 12 June 2022

We were up and away early-ish and Gordon did the first hour, and then I took over until all the locks towards the end of the journey, when we hit the flight to Stoke Bruerne. Gordon paired with another boat through those which was fun, and we had some help from the other crew. On the way to the locks, I had to overtake a slow boat, and that proved hard too. Parked just down from the Navigation pub and the Boat inn, ready to go straight into the tunnel Monday morning. It was sunny but windy again, but we were able to sit in the cockpit and have drinks. We also popped into the maritime museum. Then we had dinner in the Navigation, which was fine but they didn’t have the wine we wanted and the food was ok. Julia and I had rib-eyes that could have been better. Back for more wine and drinks and early bed.

Monday 13 June 2022

We were up and away at 0630 to get through the tunnel before anyone else. I drove all morning and so did the two mile tunnel. Nothing came the other way. It was a grey and cloudy day. Then we carried on for another couple of hours and we made it to Nether Heyford, their marina. We parked and Chris did breakfast, and then Gordon dropped us at Northampton Station. We paid £48 for two singles to Berkhamsted (!) and then a £4.30 taxi back to the car. The M25 was shit and parked again, and as we approached the A30 it was stopping again, so we came of and went down the old A30 to Bagshot and rejoined the motorways there. Back home about 1415, unpacked and enjoyed the sunshine with some drinks. Then dinner, TV and bed

York to see James and Dani 21-22 May 2022

Saturday 21 May 2022

We were up early at 0500 heading to York. We left at 0545 and stopped at Watford Gap and again at Tesco York for petrol and we arrived bang on 1000 as requested. James cooked us breakfast, and then we had a nap. Then we went into York on the bus. It was a sunny day with some breeze. I went to M&S and got a bow tie and braces, then we went to the Eagle and Child for G&Ts – James and Dani had rum. Then we all played mini golf, and then wnet to the sky bar – it was nice but a bit windy. Then we went to the Ivy for dinner which was fab and a super meal. I had Korean chicken, James and Julia Malanise chicken, and Dani a squash curry. Then we caught the bus back and watched the Grand tour (French one) and a film which I fell asleep in.

Sunday 22 May 2022

We were up and away about 0930, and got the papers at Tesco. Then we came off the M1 at Towcester and went for lunch at the Folly. it was lovely weather again, but with a slight breeze. It was a super Sunday roast. Then Julia drove back across country with me navigating. Unfortunately, similar to when she drove the Avensis another time, the brakes started screeching – lost pads and discs we suspect! We got home and sat in the garden where we were sheltered and it was lovely in the sunshine. Then we both had a sleep, and then read the papers, and had drinks and nibbles for dinner. Then TV and bed. Afternote: It was new discs and pads at £640 !