Personal and undiluted views
olive pruning

1075 days ago

Photo article: It is all familiar faces back in Kambos and up at the Greek Hovel

If you head to a seaside settlement in the Mani right now whether it be Islington-sur-Mer (kardamili) or the Costa-del-Stoupa they will be packed with people. Head there in the winter and they are semi-deserted. Up here in the lower reaches of the Taygetos mountains, in unfashionable old Kambos, the population barely changes throughout the year. The faces I see when harvesting olives in November are, essentially, those I see now in the burning heat of August.

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1076 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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1105 days ago

Photo article from the Greek Hovel - take that snakes

Fear not daughter Olaf, I have now laid down the snake repellent at the Greek Hovel. Two canisters, as you can see below, 10 yards away from opposite corners of the house now emit a smell which snakes are meant to regard as foul and so will keep the hovel, if not the snake-fields, free from serpents for three months until Autumn hibernation. Well in theory.

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1153 days ago

Photo Article from the Greek Hovel - heading into snake territory, olive pruning update

I have grossly underestimated the number of olive trees that sit on the land at the Greek Hovel. Yesterday and today I upped my quota to thirty so I have now pruned 160 which is what I thought we had. I was very wrong. But i now enter what I deem the land of the snake.

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1157 days ago

Photo Article - my 20 a day complete I ponder how many olive trees does the Greek Hovel actually have?

I am horrified by how much pruning is needed on some of our olive trees. It is as if they have not been "cleaned, as they say here, for years. But this is just one season's growth. Maybe I have Alzheimer's but I really do not remember it being this hard other than in year one when Foti the Albanian and I tackled trees that had not been pruned in eons.

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1158 days ago

Report from the Greek Hovel: I fail to kill the first snake spotted. Drat!

Damn. It was a near miss but I failed to kill it. The serpent was not in the olive groves where I trod carefully today as, armed with my new axe pruned 20 trees. I start with the highest yielders, the ones nearest the house which have always enjoyed my tender care. Those in the long grass on the further reaches of our land I save to the end as I know what will be lurking in that grass.

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1159 days ago

Photo Article - a gentle start to my olive pruning: but this will be tough

With the one room at the Greek Hovel that was used to store goods out of action for re-flooring my possessions - such as they are - are scattered around the plot. After a bit of a search my saw was located. It had been used to stir concrete and so, rather sheepishly, on of the builders did his best to clean it. It is usable. My small axe (about a foot long) which one uses for taking away sprouts of new growth at the base of an olive tree could not be found. I have just bought a new one from Vangelis in Kambos.

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1500 days ago

Diary of a diabetic - 9.6 WTF?

I am meant to test my blood sugars twice daily and be in a range of 5-7 whatever that means.Almost two months ago I was 15.3 but these days an almost zero carb, almost zero alcohol, low stress and modest daily exercise lifestyle plus five pills a day has seen me happily in "normal" territory for someone tackling type 2 diabetes, for some days. But I just tested myself and it was 9.6. WTF!

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1507 days ago

Photo article: Diary of a Diabetic (Second Time Around) day 11 - all in the 7s

Amid a general feeling of despondenc and uncertainty, the one constant joy is my blood sugar levels as I tackle type 2 diabetes. It is eleven days since I got back to Greece and I continue my regime of moderate exercise and avoiding booze and carbohydrates at all cost. Well almost.

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1509 days ago

Photo Article from the Greek Hovel - another vile Athena legacy goes

We are almost there in removing the ghastly modern additions made to the 100 year old Greek Hovel by its former owner vile Athena. I was up there today pruning my olive trees at an incredible pace and almost the last legacy has gone.

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1513 days ago

Diary of a diabetic Day 6 ( second time around)

Just a very quick note on my blood sugar levels as I battle type 2 diabetes. Yesterday i reported how the trend was my friend as i re-started the fightback. After a day of hard olive pruning, swimming, no booze and healthy eating more dramatic progress has been made.

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1514 days ago

Diary of a diabetic day 5 ( second time)

As you may remember when I was joined in Greece my by wife and her family my type 2 diabetes control went badly off the rails. In the ten days i spent in England there were days when I almost gave up. I was not dreadful, I ate no chocolate and I did take some exercise but not a lot. But I had a few drinks and some days I skipped my medication. I was angry with myself and depressed. But my flight back to Greece on Tuesday marked a new beginning. So we start the clock again.

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1536 days ago

Photo Article: Friendly wildlife Diversity at the Greek Hovel as I prune and think

An hours olive pruning each day is good for the olives and good for me. For starters it is some exercise to keep the type 2 diabetes at bay. Reach up, saw, reach down, axe, reach up axe, look around to check for snakes, hear a noise, panic, discover its not a snake, stop panicking, walk over the rocks and bushes to the next tree, check there are no snakes. Repeat. Repeat again. If I could do this every day the pounds would roll off.

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1550 days ago

Diary of a diabetic day 25 - lifting poison in Kambos

My strips for my English meter should have arrived by Fedex yesterday. They have not. And so i am still on the Greek meter where my readings are all over the shop. Overall the trend seems down and yesterday post run I scored a reading of 106 which I gather is 5.9 in proper money. Okay vigorous exercise really spoofs the meter but three weeks ago I could have run a marathon and still not got anywhere near that level. Okay that is a lie.

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1561 days ago

Diary of a Diabetic Day 14 - the start of manual labour

My blood sugar levels s have remained pretty good over the past few days. After my 9.3 on Friday I came in at 9.5 on Saturday and 9.9 on Sunday morning. I am running low on the little sticks you put in the machine so am on morning only tests pro tem. But Easter Sunday saw me hammering away at my laptop and drinking coffee. I had no car at that point and the cafe kept on giving me a little biscuit with my coffees. My day was almost all sedentary. It was a day that was just so typical of my poisonous lifestyle that saw blood sugar levels at 15.3 two weeks ago and me battling severe type 2 diabetes.

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1859 days ago

Tom Winnifrith Bearcast - I am utterly fecked off with everyone

I am not writing much today as I am 100% fecked off with everyone especially Ben Turney, Jason Drummond and lyin' George Osborne. Instead I finished my olive pruning. I think I am going to quit writing and become a full time olive pruner. I discuss Teathers Financial (TEA), the Brexit vote, Photo-Me (PHTM), Chemring (CHG), Churchill Mining (CHL), xCite Energy (XEL) and dog spreadbetting waste of space London Capital (LCG)

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1863 days ago

Tom Winnifrith Bearcast: 40 degree heat with the snakes including Phil Crawford of Lombard Risk

I start with the murder of Jo Cox MP and the disgusting way EU suporters are using it to lie and smear as you can read HERE. In Greece today it is 40 degrees plus and I am a sweating wreck after a session of olive pruning, braving the snakes which brings me to Phil "InterX" Crawford of Lombard Risk Management (LRM) and the question he has to answer NOW. Elsewhere I look at Highlands Natural Resources (HNR) following up on this piece, C-Dialogues (CDOG), XCite Energy (XEL) - all shout Timber!!!!!! - Scancell (SCLP) and the uber dog Mkango Resources (MKA).

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1866 days ago

The Mrs heads home from Greece - life without her is very different, I'm back at the Hovel

British Airways staff were again brilliant today. On Saturday I arrived at Kalamata airport with a barely mobile father and weak step mother. Within minutes a cute airline lady had helped me get a wheelchair for my father and i was told my job was over. The lady put them at the front of the line and I had nothing more to do. Today it was the turn of the Mrs. We arrived and the small departure lounge was again heaving with lobster pink Northern Europeans forming long lines to check in for flights to London and Paris.

I found a different cute airline lady and said that my wife was heavily pregnant, as she is, and within minutes she was again at the head of the queue leaving dozens of the lobster pink Brits and froggies fuming behind her. Then she was through passport control and was off and I headed back to town to face another three to four weeks at the Greek Hovel with just the snakes and rats for company.

When the Mrs is here I am on holiday so I only work 3-4 hours a day at my PC and I do no manual labour at all. I enjoy three meals a day and more than the odd drink. "After all we are on holiday" say I as I order another ouzo. I get to sleep on clean sheet in an air conditioned hotel and enjoy swims in luxury pools. The Mrs is paying and it is a treat. I enjoy my hols with the Mrs. We talk, we plan, we discuss. Life without the Mrs is very different.

Aware

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1876 days ago

How many frigging olive trees does the Mrs own? I now prune into uncharted and snake intense territory

When the Mrs bought the Greek Hovel we were told that there were around 120-150 olive trees here. A few are wild so bear no fruit but still we had a lot of trees. I am now convinced that the number is far greater as I navigate the far reaches of the land. I do so more conscious than ever, after yesterday, that I am not alone as I work.

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1877 days ago

It is one of those times when I actually want a cigarette

I've been nicotine clean now for three months and three weeks exactly and the urge to have "just one" cigarette is now really pretty rare. But I must admit to having such an urge just now.

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1878 days ago

All work and no play makes Tom a dull boy, no more writing today - a sea swim beckons

That is it. I have written a stack of articles. I have done two very hard and sweaty sessions of frigana slashing and I shall do a stint on the olive pruning and then I am off. Ive served my time in the fields of the Greek Hovel, I've penned my golden prose and apart from anything else, having been drenched in sweat, I smell less than perfumed.

Because of the wildlife diversity I wear thick black jeans when wading into the frigana bushes. Given that it is 30 degrees plus even up at the hovel that is less than comfortable and I have spent all day dreaming of wading into the sea. All work no play makes Tom a dull - and in this case smelly - boy. Off to the sea I go.

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1889 days ago

A snake encounter at the Greek Hovel, silly me: do as the Greeks go

There is a reason that the Greeks, or rather the Albanians the Greeks hire to do manual labour, start at 8 AM and finish at 3 PM. The reason, I think, is snakes. That is to say the snakes are at their least active in the morning. During the day they sunbathe and so by dusk they are really quite frisky. I have hitherto been working to a different schedule. Silly me.

You see when I awake I start writing articles for you my dear readers. By the time you open up your PC at seven I have already been generating golden prose for at least ninety minutes. As such by the time I had finished generating golden prose and had my lunch (Greek salad) in Kambos today and got back for olive pruning it was 4.40 PM.

And so I headed straight for that part of the property which, when I first arrived, was a thick frigana jungle. I was convinced then that it was the sort of place that snakes really would want to hang out in but

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1893 days ago

Thrashing away hacking back the frigana, I am reminded of a short story from the depression

I once read a short story but for the life of me cannot remember its title or author but it comes to mind as I toil in the fields at the Greek Hovel, slashing away with my frigana cutter below.

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