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Sunday, 21 January 2018

One window <Μικρό παράθυρο, πολλά δουλειά>

“Wouldn't it be simpler, even economical in the long run, to remove the whole window, frame and all, and have a metal opening window installed?”
"Yes and no" says Linda
Our dining room window is a quaint opening in the house, slightly hidden by steps up to the outside balcony, and pot-plant greenery.
It must once have been a wood-framed inward-opening window with transoms. Before we came here, that had been removed - regarded beyond repair. We have instead, a fixed pane that drips condensation in winter. It doesn't open.
6 years ago Lin and I made shutters to fit outside this window - adapting doors recovered from a discarded kitchen cupboard. The job was complicated because the exterior entry to the window, at the house wall, was inches larger than the square into which the shutters on their new frame were to fit flush against the window. The angles, front and back, were slightly different too. We ended up. after some minutes of fruitless offering up, cutting out a section from the frame to get it to fit; then rejoin the cut ends; difficulties that should have been avoided by proper measuring. Then the shutters had to be reshaped to fit the adjusted frame.
Because of the proximity of the external balcony steps, the shutters could only open if two folding sections were hinged on one side, and one on the other. In time, we worked our way through these difficulties. Our neighbour, Lefteris, watching us, mused <Μικρό παράθυρο, πολλά δουλειά> "Little window, lots of work"
The shutters were made to a frame that didn't fit

For the last year, Lin’s noticed that the inside of the old frame is rotting. On the dining room side, she poked a finger deep into the foot of it. Out came white insects. Procrastination no longer possible, we set to, chiseling out the wood below and beside the window. It came away in flaky chunks...

...some damp but not so much rotten as termite infested. The insects came tumbling out onto the interior sill to be killed with insecticide spray.
Our chiseling out continued along the bottom and the lower sides of the frame, until we were down to rocks and cement. I used the multi-tool wood cutter to remove frame-wood back to where it was still sound – hard old wood. As I expected more and more unsound, damp and rotten wood needed cutting out; more insecticide sprayed into the cavity.
"I'm glad we started on this at last" I said aloud, thinking how we could easily have invested in a new opening double-glazed window. But as, instead, we invested our energies repairing what existed, its value shifted.
"The rot's all out now. You've sprayed insecticide thoroughly. What next?"
"Lots of insecticidal wood preservative" said Lin...
...and then I'll spade the cavity with pudlo-ed mortar, and finish with plaster."
"While I unscrew the shutters. sand, undercoat and paint them and the external frame"
I'd seen there was a length of the lower frame topped by quarter-round trim serving as stoppers for the shutters to rest on, but serving, also, as a window-width rectangular 'ditch' in which rainwater was collecting - likely the main source of the rot.
From the apothiki I dug out a length of hardwood that, by good luck, was exactly wide and high enough. Offered up, and cut to exact length, sanded, preserved, undercoated, painted twice in Corfu green, it was put out on to dry - 24 hours each coat.

At the same time, after her plaster had dried, Lin applied undercoat and gloss white to her repairs inside.

"Looking good" I said "I'll get on with the frame. Same old."
Sand, undercoat, two layers of Corfu green, after removing the shutters. The gloss - sticky and rich - takes at least 24 hours to dry, indeed, better left 48.
Nice and dry, I inserted the length of wood neatly in the 'ditch' on top of a light bed of silicone filler; all remaining cracks similarly filled and smoothed, and the ¼ round tapped off and cut away, still serving as stoppers, but in three much shorter separate lengths. I poured water on the outer sill to satisfy myself it would now run away onto a concrete balcony step, and not just sit there encouraging rot.
On top of the renewed bottom frame I painted a further coat of Corfu green. When all had dried, thanks to a few rainless days, I re-attached the shutters to the frame, having cleaned the little brass handle used to open them.

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From the Ano Korakiana website:

Των Αγίων Αντωνίου και Αθανασίου ~ Of Saint Anthony and Saint Athanasios

Του Αγίου Αντωνίου χθες και στον Άη-Νικολόπουλο τελέστηκε η αφιερωμένη Λειτουργία, μετ’αρτοκλασίας. Η γειτονιά και όχι μόνο, έδωσε όπως πάντα το παρών. Στη συνέχεια προσφέρθηκε κέρασμα στην εορτάζουσα οικία του Φωκίωνος Μάνδυλα.
Σήμερα, ανήμερα της εορτής του Αγίου Αθανασίου, με λιακάδα και αέρα, το ενδιαφέρον και ο κόσμος συγκεντρώθηκαν στην ομώνυμη εκκλησία, την αποκαλούμενη και  «μητρόπολη» του χωριού. 
The whole neighbourhood came to celebrate services at the churches of St.Antonios and St. Nikolaos yesterday, followed by a party at the home of the village Mayor Fokion Mandila. In fresh and sunny weather, for today's celebration of St. Athanasius, everyone gathered in Agios Athanasius - the 'cathedral' of the village.
Εκεί, παρουσία του Μητροπολίτη ΚερκύραςΕκεί, παρουσία του Μητροπολίτη Κερκύρας σεβ. Νεκταρίου και αρκετών ιερέων, τελέστηκε η Λειτουργία και ακολούθησε η χειροτονία ως Αρχιμανδρίτου του ιερέα μας, πατέρα Ευδόκιμου, με το εκκλησίασμα να αναφωνεί τρεις φορές «Άξιος»!. Το παρόν έδωσαν επίσης ο πρ. Βουλευτής Στέφανος Γκίκας, από το Δήμο Κέρκυρας οι δημοτικοί Σύμβουλοι Γ. Ρεδαιστινός, Σταμάτης Απέργης, Φανή Τσιμπούλη και Δημήτρης Μεταλληνός, ο Πρόεδρος και τα μέλη του Τοπικού μας Συμβουλίου, καθώς και οι μαθητές του Ειδικού Γυμνασίου και του Νηπιαγωγείου Κορακιάνας μετά των καθηγητών και δασκάλων τους. Η δε Χορωδία Σπαρτύλα συνόδεψε από το γυναικωνίτη το ψαλτήρι. Μετά το πέρας της Λειτουργίας τελέστηκε μνημόσυνο στη μνήμη του αγαπητού του μας παπα-Κώστα.
There, in the presence of the Archbishop of Corfu, his Grace Nectarios, and several priests, the Liturgy was observed for the diocesan ordination of our priest, Papa Evthekimos; the congregation exclaiming three times 'it is meet'. Also present, from the Municipality of Corfu, were Councillors G.Rethystinos, Stamatis Apergis, Fani Tsimpoulis and Dimitris Metallinos, as well as the President and members of our Local Council, and the students of the Special High School, the Korakiana Nursery School with their teachers. The women of the Choir of Spartillas added their voice to the psalms. At the end of the Service, a eulogy was given in memory of our dear Papa-Kostas.
Στη διάρκεια του κεράσματος πΣτη διάρκεια του κεράσματος που ακολούθησε στο «Κελί», ο Μητροπολίτης ευχαρίστησε ιδιαίτερα το Επιτροπικό Συμβούλιο για την άψογη προετοιμασία της εορτής και έκοψε την πρωτοχρονιάτικη βασιλόπιτα..
.....During the meal that followed, the Archbishop thanked the Commissariat for the perfect preparation of the feast that marked the New Year's Eve. (Trans: My rough understanding!)

...though this event was, of course, 10 days earlier, I could not forbear to record the wonderful scene in Ano Korakiana's Church of St George for the Epiphany on 7th January

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With Dr Benoit Smeuninx on the first day of 'The Bed Rest Study'
  I've finally started as a subject in a 'bed-rest study' at Wellcome Clinical Research Facility (CRF) at QE Hospital - 5 muscle biopsies, blood tests, urine and saliva sampling, balance testing, BMI measures, ultrasound scans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, diet logging, prior daily pedometer readings (up to the 5 days in bed) plus a wrist activity meter, and prehabilitative weight exercising before and after 5 days in a hospital bed during which I'm asked to do a few minutes of mild exercise every waking hour, wear special blood clot reducing socks, have my temperature and blood pressure read and my BMI measured, and have an anti-coagulating injection (which I can't feel) in the middle of each evening. Nurses wait on me almost hand and foot bringing me bland but perfectly eatable meals and cups of tea on request, wheel-chairing me to the washroom and WC when required (I must not be on my feet)...
...  'Skeletal muscle mass plays an essential role in activities of daily living and regulation of metabolic health. Ageing is associated with a progressive decline in skeletal muscle mass (sarcopenia) that compromises tasks of daily living, metabolic health and increases the risk of falls, fractures and mortality. The healthcare costs associated with treating age-related musculoskeletal decline are vast, and continue to grow with our expanding ageing population. Of concern is that ~30% of those aged 75-84 years suffer from sarcopenia. Thus, interventions to reduce the progression of age-related muscle wasting will improve the quality of life in older individuals and have a profound impact on healthcare expenditure. To place this into context, a 10% reduction in the incidence of sarcopenia would result in an enormous reduction in healthcare expenditure associated with muscle deterioration (estimated annual cost to the NHS of £5.7 billion).....A cohort of healthy older individuals will complete single-leg exercise prehabilitation (for comparison with the untrained control leg), consisting of either single or multiple bouts of resistance exercise. Immediately following exercise prehabilitation, participants will undergo 5 days of strict bed-rest. Detailed assessment of muscle size, architecture, and strength will conducted prior-to and following bed-rest. Furthermore, we will use sophisticated measurement techniques to understand the precise mechanisms that underpin alterations in muscle size and strength during short-term bed rest, and whether adaptations in these mechanisms can explain the protective effects of exercise prehabilitation on muscle health. Ultimately, we hope to demonstrate that exercise prehabilitation is an effective means of preventing muscle deterioration during short-term disuse in older individuals, which will ultimately slow the trajectory of sarcopenia and promote healthy, independent ageing in a diverse and expanding older population.' Anyone interested in taking part in this study as a subject (like me - over 65 and under 80 male in good health) should contact Benoit Smeuninx (School of Sport Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, Birmingham University)
This involvement comes via my membership of the Birmingham University 1000 Elders Group researching healthy ageing.  I've been a member for about 4 years now and taken part in quite a few experiments, but this is the most involving. At midnight I will be half-way through my time in bed at the CRF.

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Simon Baddeley