DO you fancy living in Greece?
Former Settle art teacher Peter Huby and his partner Linda did more than just daydream about it.
They upped sticks, left their home and jobs and moved to Greece lock, stock and barrel. Now nearly five years on they have virtually finished building their unique home.
Here, Peter, tells of the pros and cons of making such a big move.
AT the end of a long English winter, when the only news on the TV is bad news, I imagine there will be people who may feel tempted by the idea of another life somewhere warmer, more relaxed.
Certainly, we were happy to leave the long northern winters behind when we moved to Greece.
We will have been here five years, come August, and have no plans for returning at the moment.
No question but that the climate in southern Greece is much better: more light, more heat, though in summer it can be almost too hot. The landscape is very striking too, though it takes a while to get used to, if you're from northern Europe.
When you ask ex-pats, people who have moved here to live, not only from England, but from Germany, Austria, Scandinavia, whether they did the right thing, what they often say is that it's not clear cut. There's a sort of balance sheet: some things are better, some things not.
There are two lists. On the plus side there are a few big gains....
- the climate is much better.
-the coastal landscape is often stunning.
-It's probably a bit cheaper to live here, though the poor exchange rate at the moment has made a big difference.
- What we would add to this list is the libertarian issue. Here you are less heavily policed. There are rules here, but people break them.
On the minus side, there are a number of minor irritations which usually come up in conversation........
- Greek bureaucracy can be hard to deal with, and not speaking Greek can make it even more difficult.
-Greek tradesmen can seem unreliable and sometimes less than honest. This can make things difficult for people who are having new houses built. Buying an existing house is probably easier, and renting a house can be surprisingly cheap.
- Greek drivers are not widely admired for their skill and courtesy. (ironic understatement) I understand that Greece has the worst traffic accident figures in Europe.
- There is a lot of corruption in Greek public life. Whilst this is true, it doesn't often affect foreigners. Paying bribes is usually the privilege of the Greeks themselves.
You could probably make similar lists of what you like/don't like about life in England.
For us, I guess the key thing, if you want to enjoy life here, is having something to do. You can only spend so much time with your gin and tonic on the balcony watching the sun set over the sea. Going to the beach is very nice, but it's not a life.
In our case, we are building a house, Linda and I, the kind of thing they wouldn't allow you to build in England. Linda teaches English part time in a Greek school and we both do bits of private tuition. Learning the Greek language is a long slog but we stick at it.
* the climate
* It's cheaper, slightly.
*problems with tradesmen
*Are you originally from the Lancaster area and have made a new life abroad? We'd love it if you emailed us your stories....Email firstname.lastname@example.org