Personal and undiluted views
The Bat Room

937 days ago

Video from the Greek Hovel - rain, rain go away

As I write the sun has just emerged. That is handy as the workers have also emerged and appear to have cut off the power. But for 24 hours the weather has been awful. Thunder kept me awake most of the night and continued well into the morning. And as for the rain.. put it this way, the drive down the mud track towards snake hill and onto Kambos will be a hoot. This is the view from outside of the Bat Room a couple of hours ago.

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938 days ago

Photo article from the Greek Hovel - shocking wildlife diversity encounter

 Okay so i am a big girl's blouse. But you too would have been shocked by what happened.

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965 days ago

Photo Article from the Greek Hovel - Veranda completed and Joshua proof

There you go, we leave and finally the veranda outside of the kitchen and over the entrance to the Bat Room is completed with the addition of Joshua proof railings. All it needs now is a table and what better place could you want for a summer lunch. Unless you want shade in which case the table beneath would be ideal...

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970 days ago

Photo Article from the Greek Hovel… dead cat not bouncing

You may remember my joy this summer when my old friend the black and white cat, to whom I had given milk as a kitten, wandered by with her two kittens. Brace yourself this is not a happy tale.

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978 days ago

Photo article from the Greek Hovel - guess what? Progress er ... slower than expected

I left here six weeks ago and was promised that the workmen would remain on the case. Guess what?

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1025 days ago

Photo article from the Greek Hovel - tiling almost complete

The big jobs remaining at the eco-palace are the second floor floorboards and the first floor ceiling for the new wing. That needs the unreliable windows man to get his fat arse back up to the Greek Hovel. As such I have declined to pay his most recent bill for 14,000 Euro. In the past I have paid him in advance. He gave me his word he'd be back up here today...he was not. So the bill is on hold until he pitches up again. I am playing hard ball... Meanwhile the tilers have almost finished their work as you can see below.

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1030 days ago

Photo Article from the Greek Hovel - the author in his outdoor study

Behind me is a pile of earth and rubble, largely what was excavated from the old floor of the Bat Room as we dug it out. I sit on the area in front of the Bat Room, now concrete but by Wednesday covered in terracotta tiles. Coffee, a phone, an internet link and a laptop, my study is complete

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1034 days ago

Photo Article from the Greek Hovel - no elf 'n Safey here

And so daughter Olaf has survived her first night at the Greek Hovel. She slept in the Rat Room, I slept in the Bat Room. She is even using the eco-loo without complaint. Meanwhile building work continues at pace as you can see below.

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1034 days ago

Photo Article from the Greek Hovel - almost there as daughter Olaf snores away

 At 4 AM I picked up daughter Olaf at Athens airport and by 5.30 AM we were peering down from a bridge over the Corinth canal, at the isthmus. It was light enough to see that the drop was a mile and while Olaf peered, I, suffering from vertigo, gripped the back rail and pretended to peer.

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1035 days ago

Photo article from the Greek Hovel – disaster averted

As you know, young Joshua, is obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine and friends. The highlight of his year was meeting Thomas on the Watercress Line  with godfather Lucian Miers.  The Bard of the Boleyn gave him a plastic Percy which makes real noises and that goes everywhere. But for some reason his favourite train is bossy Gordon. He is also very fond of my Mother-in-law.

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1036 days ago

Photo Article - slow but real progress at the Greek Hovel

George the Architect said that the doors and windows man would arrive this afternoon to ensure that his work was complete before Thursday when daughter Olaf arrives. Mr Window swore on his mother's life. I have bad news for his mother.

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1040 days ago

Photo Article: Fear not Olaf & the Mrs: chairs arrive at the Greek Hovel

For the past few days I have been sitting at the Greek Hovel on a large box of books as I tap away at my laptop in the Bat Room. What's wrong with that? Why can't everyone make do thus? It seems as if the Mrs and daughter Olaf have different ideas and have demanded chairs and as you can see...

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1042 days ago

Photo Article: My bedroom at the Greek Hovel - not as frightening as I had feared

My memories of sleeping at the Greek Hovel are of bedding down in the room above the Bat Room, terrified about what form of wildlife diversity would creep in, twitching at every noise outside and sweating in insufferable heat. as such I approached my first night in the bat Room with some trepidation leaving the light on before I headed into Kambos to guide me back in in case my torch failed.

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1043 days ago

Photo article from the Greek Hovel: Doors and windows

Like a true imbecile I left the cable i use to connect my camera to my PC back in England so I head back from Kambos into Kalamata in a few minutes to buy a replacement. For I have spent a wonderful hour up at the hovel with George the Architect and it looks magnificent. That is not to say that it actually has any doors and windows bar those in the Bat Room where I shall sleep tonight but...

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1044 days ago

A great and exciting day looms – I move into the Greek Hovel tomorrow!

I started today at 4.30 AM GMT in Bristol. I did not have the rub of the green with logistics in Athens and thus I did not arrive at my posh Kalamata hotel until 6 PM GMT, 8 PM local time. I have checked my emails , enjoyed a Greek salad and am just about to order an ouzo. But the really good news comes from George the Architect…the Bat Room at the Greek Hovel is wildlife diversity secure, the power and water is still working and so tomorrow I move in….

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1125 days ago

Photo Article - can you now see the scale of the rebuild of what was the Greek Hovel? I'm very excited!

Finally I hope the photos below show the scale of the rebuild, turning the small Greek Hovel into an eco palace. I was shocked at the, rapid, progress made since February and my last visit. The scale of what is being undertaken is only now dawning on me. We start with the shutters and door to the bat room which used to have open gaps and an earth and rock floor - it was where the animals ( both domesticated and wild) lived.

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1129 days ago

Photo Article: The Greek Hovel Bat Room update

Daughter Olaf has agreed to join me at the Greek Hovel in late August but only after making detailed enquiries about sanitation. As you can seem the bat room now has a ceiling, a door to keep out the snakes and a shower! What more could a young Lady want? I shall be in The Mani by next weekend so more photos soon.

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1134 days ago

Photo Article from the Greek Hovel - yes: the bat room now has a door, window and ceiling:

I will today book my ticket to Greece next week.I am not yet decided whether to fly direct to Kalamata and the hovel or go via Athens to shoot some videos outside Folli Follie HQ and at some of its bogus shops. I have not doorsteppoed a Greek fraud for a while. It has been too long. Back to the hovel and you can see we have two doors in the bat room: one for the eco loo and an external one. We have a window, so the room is snake proof, and a wooden ceiling. This week power points and the floor are being installed!

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1141 days ago

Photo Article: The Greek Hovel - the bat room beckons me to come inside

George the Architect sends more photos. You can see that the bat room now has a polished concrete floor and the dividing walls for the eco-loo and the shower are up with a stand waiting for a sink to arrive from Bristol. The door into the rat room is bricked up pro tem to allow me to sleep there in a wildlife free zone when I head over in a few weeks time. Elsewhere progress is rapid with the rat room now appearing to be semi roofed and progress on the upper floor rapid.

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1144 days ago

The latest photos from the Greek Hovel - what progress!

As you can see there is real progress at the Greek Hovel. The new extension is now up to two floors and in the bat room the walls are plastered and the floor installed. All we need now is the shower, eco-loo, sink and a bed and I am off. I hope to be in the Mani within two and a bit weeks and at this rate I might actually be sleeping on site.

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1166 days ago

Photos - the latest progress at the Greek Hovel

You cannot see it below, but one room from the old house, the bat room, is now completely renovated and habitable with power,lights, water, the works. But the real progress is on the whole new wing of the house which will double its floor space, creating a new master bedroom and above it a living area which will extend into a second floor built above the rat room from the old house and on into the kitchen.The Greek Albanians are hard at it and an August finish date is looking ever more likely.

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1176 days ago

Photo Update - major progress at the Greek Hovel

As you can see below, the Greek hovel sits beneath blue skies and te sun is shining in the taygetos mountains of the Mani. And real progress is being made. The first photos are of the bat room where a new floor is being laid and which will be ready for habitation by the Greek Easter in two weeks time. Elswhere you can see that the lengthward extension of the rat room is complete and the new wing which will help to double the size of the hovel is now being built up to above the first floor. Real progress is being made, as the hovel becomes an eco-palace.

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1190 days ago

Photos from the Greek Hovel - at last it is starting to take real shape

George the Architect has been in touch with an update on progress at the Greek Hovel and, as you can below, see there really has been progress. The rat room extension walls are underway and the new wing of the house which will double the floor space is now also starting to take shape. George says the door to the bat room is on its way and it will be habitable within two weeks. The rest of the hovel is still on track to be finished by September, after just 51 months!

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1216 days ago

Doing a bit of a Paddy Leigh Fermor at the Greek Hovel and boosting the local economy

When building his house at Kardamili, 20 miles down the road from the Greek Hovel, all round superhero Paddy Leigh Fermor decided that he needed to go back to England for some literary business. On his return, some months later, he decided that the builders, though following plans, were building his house the wrong way round. Thus he instructed them to tear it down and start again.

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1220 days ago

Photo Article: I take it all back, Greeks hard at work at the Hovel - major progress

I headed back to the Greek Hovel expecting to find an empty building site and no signs of progress. I take it all back. It may be Sunday but three hard working Greeks were on site with a mini bulldozer, hard at work. How could I have ever doubted the work ethic of the citizens of the mighty Hellenic Republic?

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1292 days ago

Photo article - real building progress at the Greek Hovel, the Bat room has a floor!

In my final days in Greece there really was progress up at the Greek Hovel as a large concrete mixing lorry somehow found its way up the long and winding track and got to work, as you can see below.

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1306 days ago

Photo Article: The olive harvest from the Greek Hovel day 2

Being a UK work day I started my harvesting a lot later than planned and finished a bit earlier. Well that is my excuse anyway. It won't wash tomorrow. But by late morning I had arrived at the hovel with my 5*10 metre mat and my olive tree basher. I was ready to go.

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1307 days ago

Photo Article: Building "progress" at the Greek Hovel

I cannot say that I expected dramatic progress in the rebuilding of the Greek Hovel. And my expectations were matched. No. They were exceeded. Eventually I extracted from George the architect the admission that the builders had enjoyed a long break as they awaited permits and then as the weather turned against them In fact they had only restarted work again 24 hours before my arrival. But now they are hard at it.

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1461 days ago

Photo Article: The escape hatch at the Greek Hovel for daughter Olaf as George says words no father wants to hear

It has been troubling me deeply that in the plans for the Greek Hovel, the room known as the bat room will not be connected to any other part of the house. Since this bedroom will be for daughter Olaf, who will be 16 in exactly one week's time, I worry what happens if she gets scared by a noise at night or sees a snake? Heading out through her front door into the dark is hardly practicable. So I have changed the plans.

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1471 days ago

Photo Article from the Greek Hovel - look snakes so many new ways to get in!

The Greek Albanian building crew are making cracking progress at the Hovel. There are now so many ways to get into the room in which I used to sleep that even the stupidest snake in Christendom can find its way in.

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1499 days ago

Photo Article from the Greek Hovel: darling daughter Olaf, your bedroom is almost ready!

I have been updating you on progress on what was known as the bat room but is now know as Olaf's bedroom at the Greek Hovel. The initial task was to dig out the earth and rock floor so that there was 7 foot of headroom rather than 5-6 foot in what was once where the animals lived. I should say that my almost 16 year old Islington dwelling daughter did not respond with great excitement to the first photos HERE. Fear not Olaf, things are looking better.

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1502 days ago

Building works photo update from the Greek Hovel - daughter Olaf this is your bedroom

My almost sixteen year old daughter Olaf has so far declined to visit the Greek Hovel. It was something about the homemade eco-loo. Or was it the hosepipe that is my shower. Or perhaps it was the snakes, rats or scorpions. Honestly, kids today. No gumption at all. But Olaf will be delighted to see how much progress has been made on what will be her bedroom when she stays, what is currently known as the bat room.

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1855 days ago

One noise of the night explained - bats have taken over the rat room at the Greek Hovel

I can hear a loud chirping noise from outside as I prepare to go to sleep at night. Surely it cannot be a bird? I hear nothing in the day. Tonight all has been explained. Beneath the one room that is habitable at the Greek Hovel is the bat room, named after the dominant species of inhabitant when I arrived. Behind me but a level down, underneath the snake veranda, is the rat room, the veranda and the room both named for similar reasons. The latter has been cleansed of rats and it is where I store wood for the winter.

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