I am back from my break at the new house. We were away for 2.5 weeks but it seems like much longer. I slept for long, long hours and have recharged my batteries (must be solar powered!)
I spent the first week meeting, planning and socialising (this is Crete after all) with the builder, my long time friend, various of his children, who have different jobs within the business, also the plumber, fridge man and even some of the new neighbours. My new neighbours didn't let the mere absence of any joint language we could converse in affect our chats.and kindly called bearing gifts of tomatoes and melons (lots and lots - yum). I found that without my husband around, who used to speak Greek well enough to mistaken for a local and who is still pretty good albeit with a real Crete accent apparently,my own grasp of the language wasn't bad. Conversations did involve a bit of mime still though. The children and I must brush up on this as it seems quite rude not to be able to have some conversation with the people in our little village.
Building has gone well (if slowly)so far. My plan to have an overhanging balcony giving us a shady patio all day worked well. This is meant that the main rooms are shaded from the sun all day and don't get as hot as they would if exposed. My challenge is to avoid air conditioning but this may not be possible for us wedding cold weather folk in to 40 to 50 degree heat. We had a lovely cool place to sit in the heat of the day. My upstairs balcony also has a full roof of read tiles. This means that the sun in the summer comes down form above and creates ample shade. In winter (this is my theory - not yet proven)the sun should be lower in the sky and the house should be warmed by the beams shining under the eaves.
My fridge is plumbed in to the water supply so that we can have cold water without buying plastic bottles. Everyone but everyone gets through so many plastic bottles a day. They have started recycling in most villages in recent years but avoiding the bottles in the first place is better still.
I have no heating as yet and it is hat to imagine that we will need it but I know we will. We are planning to have a wood fire stove which will burn the cuttings from our own trees. This wont be for a while though, there is saving to be done first!
Lastly my hot water is entirely solar powered. The cold water is coming out of the tap as hot as the moment anyway, as the pipe is running over the ground and is currently black. Once everything is in position and properly painted we should have both hot and cold, rather than two hots though.
This means that the only electricity we are using in for the lighting and the fridge & occasional use of the toaster. We are using bottled gas for the 2 ring cooker. Water is, I believe, village spring water. Our use is minimal as we use showers & a water efficient (and second hand)washing machine. There is a bath but I think only because the builder though that being English this was obligatory.
I am planning my garden during the moniths before our next visit.It was very hard to come 'home'.