Tuesday, 13 June 2006

And so we're back...

Tuesday, 13 June 2006
Well, we've actually been back for almost a week now but it's taken me this long to get myself back to normal.

Most of last week was taken up with doing nine loads of washing and ironing - okay, some of the ironing still needs to be done as we came back to a REALLY hot England which changed ironing from a chore to torture. This year is obviously out to get me heat wise. Don't get me wrong, I like sunshine but anything above about 25 degrees is kinda torture for me.

The good news was that the house was still standing and, even better, the garden had been transformed while we were away (we paid someone to come and pave it) which was the best wedding present we could have. It means we can enjoy the current great weather by eating outside every night with the minimum of fuss which is what we wanted and didn't have when there was grass to cut.

When we first bought the house we transformed the (very small) garden with some decking, grass and flowers and I loved pottering about keeping it looking good but Lia's arrival last year meant that I didn't do anything out there (I was either heavily pregnant of knackered)so it was a real mess. Slabs are the best option as I still don't have the time to spend out there (and no, DH is not a gardener) and it means that if or when we decide to move it'll be a good selling point.

You'll all be pleased to know that we survived the rest of the Greece trip with very little incident. I managed to keep my temper and so no arguments occured which was great as I'd promised DH to do my utmost to make sure that was what happened. I was pushed to the limit though (although nothing as bad as giving my baby the wrong name) but I just had to view things with amusement rather than aggravation. Hopefully now I've done it once I'll manage to do it again as, although it's incredibly difficult not to let them get to me it's much easier for DH if I don't.

So what else is there to tell you about the trip? Gifts are a good topic as we spent several days of our last week exchanging gifts - some that were awful, some that were inappropriate and some that were downright huge.

After the christening we had 22, yes 22, pink dresses/outfits for Lia. All of them hideous. I don't do pink at the best of times but the Greeks seem to feel that girls clothes aren't girls clothes unless they have tat all over them so there's buttons, lace, taffeta, the works and they're icky in the extreme.

The main problem I had was that kids clothes are really expensive in Greece so we exchanged 650 euros worth of clothing which amounted to about 20 items. I could clothe Lia for two years on that money by shopping around at Tesco and Asda, etc and normally I wouldn't dream of spending that kind of money on clothes she'll wear for a few months.

It really upsets me to spend that kind of money on her and, even worse, two people had shopped at a boutique so 174 euros of that 650 were spent on TWO items of clothing!!!! What's worse is that I I found it impossible to make 174 euros stretch to more than two items of clothing so Lia now has (and I'm so ashamed) a denim jacket that cost 139 euros (£95) and a t-shirt that cost 53 euros (£36).

The problem was that most of the stuff in all of the shops was hideous and designed for children that sit still and don't play, get dirty, eat or do anything to mean their clothes need to be washed or ironed ever. Plus we couldn't exchange for less than the amount of the original so we always had to spend a little more as I never managed to duplicate the amount (the closest I got was 3 euros)

Oh and even worse was that some of the stuff smelt of cigarette smoke as over there shop owners just smoke in the shop. In fact, a couple of the things I got were actually yellow round the hem (I didn't notice till we got home and I certainly wasn't changing them again).

Wedding gift wise it wasn't too bad as quite a few people gave money which was so practical and easy to carry home. We did have some totally mad presents though and the friend who gave us a Darth Tater and Spud Trooper was totally outflanked by the friend who gave us a copy of this Map of Belgium.

No, I have no idea why he gave us a print of this and more importantly, why he gave us a print of this that's roughly 1.5m x 2m! We've left it in Greece for now as we have no idea how to get it home and absolutely no wallspace big enough for it anyway.

Still, as gifts go, I'll probably never be given anything quite so unusual...

Some things were just too large and heavy (a huge glass salad bowl) so we had to change them as we had so much luggage I was scared they wouldn't let us on the plane. As it was we were the kind of fellow traveller others hate as we had two large suitcases, one small suitcase, one huge 'sac voyage' and a car seat in the hold and five, yes, five large items of hand luggage in with us.

I don't know by what miracle BA didn't charge us extra but we got it all home almost in one piece (a silver fruit bowl got its handle broken) which is the main thing.

Oh and I have a PS as I was asked a question by Natty in my comments a while back and I always meant to answer it. I'm ashamed to say that I checked back and she asked the question in April so sorry Natty, I wasn't ignoring you really. As for the question, will we ever live in Greece, I'm sure some of the recent posts have given you a clue on my feelings about that but we have talked about it and it may well happen. The only thing I've made him agree to is that we'll have another baby before we go as I want to have my pregnancy in this country.



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