Aegina Home and Living News
Did you know?...That wood ash can be used in composting?
Apparently it is rich in potassium and calcium and has smaller quantities of magnesium and phosphorous, so when cleaning out the grate after the log fire has died down, instead of relegating it to the bin, it can be used in composting to enrich the garden soil
Our family practices ditch composting, a primitive method but very satisfying and it feels so organic!!Basically, we dig a ditch and cover the base with fruit and vegetable peelings followed by a layer of wood ash and we continue this process until the ditch is full. Finally, the top is sprinkled with a layer of ash so that we can remember where the last ditch was dug. Some time later, one has a soft, rich looking soil.
However, it is important to consider the pH of the soil before getting too carried away with this process. Wood ash is alkaline and some plants and trees prefer an acidic environment. Apparently, pH testing kits can be obtained from some hardware stores and garden centres.
For further advice on the use of wood ash in composting, visit these websites:
George Lorentzos copyright 2022
Brexit has affected so many of us in Europe, whether natives abroad or living at home. For us personally and many of our friends, we had not appreciated the freedom to move throughout Europe and how being European had become part of our identity. Now this has been curtailed and being a Brit abroad is just as tiring as being a European wanting to enter the UK, what with all the additional rules and paperwork.
Something as simple as tea has also become part of what has been curtailed and is less available, one assumes because of export rules and taxes; this is a huge loss to British people, many of whom traditionally start the day with a steaming cup of black tea. I think if one were to vote on the best British tea, the winner would possibly be Yorkshire, the strong dark leaf that is a great tea leaf to start the day with. I have never seen this sold in Greece though, instead, I would buy it whilst in the UK or ask famiy to post it; well, that is difficult to arrange nowadays too.
We Brits were happy to be able to buy PG Tips from certain supermarkets but now even that is no longer available.
Finally, in our household,we have come up with a solution. One needs to buy a bag of loose breakfast tea from a tea shop and also a box of Twining breakfast tea bags.((The ones in a red box) Two teaspoons of breakfast tea plus two Twinings breakfast tea bags in a pot seems to create the closest to Yorkshire tea that we have tasted. Try it and enjoy!!
George Lorentzos copyright 2021
A new law has been introduced that affects vendors.
From January, 2021, anyone advertising a house for sale has to now provide an energy efficiency certificate.(ΕΝΕΡΓΕΙΑΚΗ ΚΑΤΗΓΟΡΙΑ) These can be done by housing engineers/architects.
Not having one can incur a fine.
If you do not already have one, you must arrange to have one performed as soon as possible at the point of advertising
Another year has begun, not a typical new year that we are used to but one that continues on from 2020, a year that we will always remember for the Covid 19 pandemic, in which lockdowns, social distancing and mask wearing became the norm...and for good reason!! However, now that vaccines are on the horizon, there is a glimmer of hope.
2020 though has been an awful year for many; those who have lost cherished friends, family and colleagues to Covid 19, those who have lost work and businesses, access to education and other life opportunies and the feeling of loneliness that has affected people world wide, from the isolation of shielding and quarantining to lockdowns and its clipping of social wings.
We have decided to invite one of our children to write this month's living article, so that we have a young, bi-cultural perspective of how life has been for someone with feet in the UK and Greece during the year 2020 (and we will not mention Brexit...ouch!). Our baby, who is at times quite grown up and rather bossy, has shared her thoughts of a typical day that she experienced when she recuperated from London -based online exam stress and chose Aegina as the place from which to write her research thesis and to re-set her sense of self.
Hopefully, it will be uploaded by tomorrow. We hope that you enjoy reading her article.
Meanwhile, we wish everyone a safe and happier 2021
George Lorentzos copyright 2021
The UK has seen an urban flight in which people have left the cities for rural living in order to achieve the sense of space and freedom needed from living cooped up during lockdown and now that more and more people are working from rooms at home rather than travelling to an office, the lure of outdoor space and a pleasant view has become all the more attractive.
Dr Sabina Fitgerald-Melidis is one such person in Aegina who used to travel to the UK on a monthly basis for work but has since learnt that the same level of work can be achieved from home without needing to leave, thanks to Zoom and similar such platforms. Read her Living blog published in our Living section this month.
Like the UK, we have seen many people this year contacting us in Aegina to fulfill a dream of swapping urban for outdoor, island life, one in which the landscape is sea, hills and trees.
We have a range of properties able to fulfill this need, such as in Portes (H119) for 599.000 euro, one can own an estate with two dwellings that has a most amazing sea view. Portes is known for its unspoiled environment, its wonderful deep sea, perfect for swimming and several family tavernas serving home-cooked, locally produced food and freshly caught fish.
In addition, we have for 79.000 Euro in Souvala,(H135) a compact house in a large garden with a panoramic sea view. Imagine, during the colder months having walked in the hills or the olive grove, you return to your home, remove the food from the oven and sit by the logfire, reflecting on the wonderful natural walk or perhaps in the summer, you return from your swim at Pigadi and watch the sun set from your veranda.
These dreams can be realised by looking at our website and/or by contacting us and letting us know what it is you are looking for. To find coded properties, visit the home page and select the known code, otherwise enjoy browsing!!
Meanwhile, we wish everyone a memorable and safe Christmas and hope that 2021 brings us stability and semblance of normality.
Most of us throughout the world have now moved out of lockdown and during this time, we were able to re-evaluate our lifestyles. Many of us forced to work from home, we came to realise that work can be conducted successfully away from the office as home became the new workspace. This experience has now caused us to re-think where we want to live and indeed people now buying homes are looking at the potential work space within the house. Aegina island has many opportunites for affordable housing with potential office spaces, indeed this month's LIVING BLOG is written by Aimee Ansari, who has successfully managed to combine island life with work life;it makes very interesting reading. Thank you Aimee for sharing with us!
George Lorentzos copyright 2020
Finally, as mentioned, we now have our LIVING BLOG up and running.
Our contributors have been asked to describe a typical day so that the reader gains an insight into what island life has to offer and indeed how individuals interact symbiotically with the island environment.
Our first article is written by Fiona Weir and makes very enjoyable reading. Bravo Fiona!!
Copyright Aeginahomeandlving 2020
How to improve the appeal factor of your home
During lockdown, many people understood the importance of external space, whether it is a balcony, veranda or garden and it is this space that helped protect people's sanity.
Rightmove (one of the biggest real estate platforms in the UK) recently wrote that whereas in the past, it was a kitchen that sold a house or apartment, nowadays, it is the outdoor space that is the wow factor, capable of selling a home. It needn't be expensive , simply cleaning and tidying an outdoor space immediately improves the appearance. Add to this potted plants to introduce colour and some attractive furniture and one creates an appealing outdoor room. Painting gates and fences, weeding the garden, pruning bushes and trees are all inexpensive pursuits that enhance the outdoor appearance.
Given too that research based evidence has shown that people viewng a property will make a decision within seconds of first seeing it, the argument for concentrating on keeping your outdoor space appealing is very important for clinching a sale.!!
George Lorentzos copyright 2020
During lockdown, we discovered new talents and interests.
Mrs L for example, discovered the versatility of the lemon. We had two crates of lemons and these kept her busy for a whole week. Squeezing the fruit, using an electric juicer took me the best part of a day (I was the chief juicer)
We extracted 5 litres of juice, most of which is now in the freezer, in ice-trays for summmer drinks and in plastic bottles, ready for making lemonade with ginger. She has also frozen the lemon flesh, to be used to make lemon sorbet and ice-cream during the summer months (I can't wait for summer!)
Mrs L though, took things several steps further. For example, she took the juiced lemon halves and removed the pith (the white membrane, between the skin and the fruit) which she boiled, then simmered with pea and almond protein drink. Once cooled, she added vitamin E oil and aloe vera, blended it until it resembled hummus and then poured it into the numerous cleaned hummus pots that she had hoarded over the last couple of years." What IS that?" I asked "Hair masks", she replied, as she piled yet more containers into the freezer.
"Shall I throw the lemon skins away?" I asked. Well that was a mistake, she throws NOTHING away. The skins were boiled in huge casserole pans in a small quantity of water for 10 minutes. When cooled, she cut the skins into long strips of 1 cm width and boiled them again for 5 minutes in a sugary syrup; the cooled strips were rolled in granulated sugar and then she dipped them in melted white chocolate (Ion's) She loves them with coffee. I prefer more conventional sweets.
The water from boiling the lemons was poured into plastic bottles and to this she added large quantities of salt and grated shavings from the cruddy old ends bars of soap, redundant for hand washing but great for taming and neutralising the gaseous fizz of lemon juice and salt. "Do NOT drink this!", she instructed."It is organic cleaning solution which i will keep on the bathroom floor, next to the sink"
Finally, some knobbly and marked bits of lemon skin that were unhealthy looking or broken,were tossed into the compost.
For me personally though, not only do I benefit from the vitamin C present in the lemon juice and flesh, which augments my immune system during these viral times but I shall soon get to eat some pretty tasty desserts and in addition, it kept Mrs L entertained and occupied for a few days, leaving me time to listen to the news and my favouirite music programmes on the radio
George Lorentzos copyright 2020
TRYING TIMES 26/03/20
Who would have thought that 2020 would bring a pandemic so obscure that we have all had to change our behavior in order to curb transmission! Obviously, this is extremely important if we are to protect urselves and our community. Nevertheless, isolating ourselves in our homes, business closures and cessation of social interaction have forced us to find a new (hopefully temporary) way of living.
There are ways of surviving this though by re-framing how we view the situation:
By reminding ourselves that we are protecting ourselves and our community at large is a better way of viewing the situation as one of absolute boredom.
Create a new daily routine:
Starting the day with physical exercise is important for everyone and in particular improves mental health. There are numerous u-tube videos one can work along to.
Dancing whilst doing the housework makes a tedious task fun, plus music can lift the mood
Preparing meals from raw ingredients is so satisfying, and if there is music in the background, time quickly passes. Now is an opportunity to try recipes too. In our household, we have become very creative soup makers, a great source of vitamin C and less fattening food to eat in the evenings; our next project is to start bread baking again, adding olives that have gone soft and sun -dried tomatoes!
Gardening is wonderful therapy, bringing us in touch with nature as well as being another form of exercise,
Now we have time to grow from seeds (we are going to try to grow swede), those wonderful peppery vegetables that grow in abundance in the UK but are never available in Greece)
Composting is something we should all try to do if we have gardens and it is so simple, not to mention how it nourishes the soil.
Sorting out cupboards, rooms and generally de-cluttering, ( particularly if one is trying to sell a house!!) Is such a catharsis.
One can sort piles of items into things to give away in the future (we give old childrens’games and complete jigsaw puzzles to after school clubs and books written in English to language schools.
Netflix has plenty of films to choose from to while away the evening hours and book reading is always a pleasure
For the ex-pats among us who do not speak Greek, now is the chance to start to learn the language and for those of us that speak (some) Greek, finally we have time to learn new verbs and to commit to memory new vocabulary…. Better still to start reading whole books in Greek language
If Saturday is the evening that you like to go out to eat and meet people, this can still be kept special by ordering in a takeway meal and opening a bottle of wine. Facetime with friends can virtualise the experience
Being in isolation with each other can also be a trying time; you might feel like killing your husband/wife. It is advisable not to but taking time out on the veranda /garden or just sitting in another room for some me time might control these homicidal urges.!!!!!!!
Finally, lets not forget the many ways in which we can still keep in touch with friends and family….phoning, emailing whatsapp, skyping…,the list goes on and life goes on but in a slightly different format.
If you wish to share your ideas on how to fil time, please feel free to mail us on : email@example.com
Meanwhile, keep safe, stay at home, keep your distance (at least 2m) if you are out and keep washing your hands!
So many of our clients and followers of our site have asked us to resume our writing about life on Aegina island and a new decade seems an ideal opportunity to start afresh.
I cannot believe that it is 17 years since I returned to the island with my children to allow them to experience Greek life. They arrived, aged 12 ,10 and 6 years old,from London, unable to speak any Greek. in particular,I will never forget the warm welcome shown by all the families and teachers of Kipseli towards the children,easing their transition from English urban to rural village life on the island. Where else in the world would our children have the honour of studying Ancient Greek language, of studying languages in a most analytical fashion,classical mathematics and all of this amongst warm , hospitable people with whom by nature of my ancestors, they too share some of Aegina's DNA.
It is not enough to say that I love Aegina; I am Aegina and Aegina is in me and my children. Today, despite their educational and work opportunities which they are currently maximising in the UK, they still hanker after Aegina, the place they consider their real home.
We are intrigued by the different reasons people from all over the world choose to settle here and it is this aspect, that my wife Alison (the writer in the family) will be exploring in future. She will be bringing the community to the surface, weaving it alongside our own family life to create a lexical tapestry of life in Aegina.
Hopefully the first article will be available at the end of the month but I will keep you informed of when to expect the first of many.
Meanwhile, we wish all of our community a healthy and happy 2020!
We are Aegina and Aegina is us