Friday, 25 May 2018

GDPR day ...

This EU GDPR directive ...

I’ve never had so many unwanted emails in my life, begging for a response. Whoever thought that up bright wheeze of an idea in Brussels, needs to be put up against a wall, and well you know the rest ...

It wont actually stop the spammers, who like the rest of the EU do not abide by any directive anyway. However over the last few hours the email boxes are groaning as each and every IT dept tries to comply with the new rules ...

Wonder if Mr Google will replace SPAM with a new box today called GDPR. I remember the Romans had something similar called SPQR just in front of the centurion ...

So remember I dont have your data, you can subscribe if you wish, there is nothing you need to do, and no one is forcing you to do anything at all, if you dont want too ...

SPQR - This was an initialism of a phrase in Latin: Senātus Populusque Rōmānus ("The Roman Senate and People", or more freely as "The Senate and People of Rome"; Classical Latin: [sɛˈnaː.tʊs pɔpʊˈlʊs.kᶣɛ roːˈmaː.nʊs]), referring to the government of the ancient Roman Republic, and used as an official emblem of the modern-day comune (municipality) of Rome. 

It appeared on Roman currency, at the end of documents made public by inscription in stone or metal, and in dedications of monuments and public works, and it was emblazoned on the vexilloids of the Roman legion,

Sounds rather like the modern day EU their directives and their tokens the Euro. We all know what happened to the roman empire don't we ...

Spammed ...

Its been a funny twenty four hours, or so. I have been deluged with messages, tagged, texted and cajouled, by a 90% female audience, as word reached me that someone, I have not seen for about 25/30 years or so wants to get in touch.

Its been like a Skiathos Lovers version of GDPR, as the phone went ding ding all day long, as I was handbagged by the masses. Its stopped now as ...

A moderator turned off commenting for this post.

Of course there is a link to Skiathos, a search party, and probably a bloodhound, out on the trail right now. Will let you know what happens next, if in fact anything does at all ...

Καλό Ταξίδι! to Mr Tsipouro, en route to Jimmy;s shortly, and to start the season in the way he knows best. With the big green bottle ...

Previous blog: I want to tell you a story ...

Thursday, 24 May 2018

I want to tell you a story ...

I was reminded of this today ...

"It is no secret here, my wife has been very ill ...

Hopefully things are now on the mend. Today we went out for a walk, in the summer sunshine, and we bumped into many friends on the way. Everyone seems to want to hear the story, offer encouragement and try to help with a few words ...

Today Dimitris, who is a kamaki on the harbour, called to the house, with some set honey, to be mixed in warmed milk with a cube of Greek chocolate, and a hint of chili powder. This is to help with making the veins strong and increase the appetite. All ingredients were left with us ...

On the Paralia, Spiros rushed out of his taverna, he was worried he had not seen her for a few days, and was concerned. He sat us down and returned with a polystyrene box, he insisted we take and use the contents. 
It was a new pot of Royal Jelly, and he gave precise instructions like a doctor in its use ...

As we neared home, Eleni came out from her taverna, and another discussion took place, and a few moments later we returned with some lovely fresh fish soup to help out ...

With all the problems that Greece has, its people still do their best for their neighbours" ...

23rd May 2012

This was the start of a terrible journey. The rest as they say, and many of you know is history, Thanks to many of you, we came out of the other side ...

PS: Thanks to benjoe for the message on TA, Much appreciated ...

Previous Blog: Deserted beaches, Electric poles and posh sunbeds ...

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Deserted beaches, Electric poles and posh sunbeds ...

A photo update from the other end of the rock ...

Deserted beaches

The hotels are full but where are the people?

Mandraki Elias hardly anyone there, sun beds and umbrellas out, but they are the old ones.  

Elsewhere its all so quiet ...

Agistros which is the beach where Nikos the owner of the beach bar who was at LB is supposed to have gone.  As you can see there is no one there ...

Electric poles being fitted ...

... and posh sunbeds

They are going to take some moving - at least the face west ...

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Thessaloniki ferry link to return? ...

Interest of Golden Star Ferries for the line-Sporades line

The company requested approval to launch its high-speed boats from 15 June to 9 September 2018

The Golden Star Ferries company submitted in writing (Friday 18th May) to the ministry of maritime and island policy for the emergency launch of its boat ships (Superspeed and supercat) on the Thessaloniki-Sporades line.

The company requested approval to launch the two above-mentioned speedboats for the period from 15 June to 9 September 2018.

In its letter, it also states that there was a "strong requirement of the mayor" of Thessaloniki for this connection.

Source: EURO2day

Undercover reporters:

Update no2 from the other end of the island ...

'Sunbeds are out on BB & LB, but no cushions all new and they cannot be wheeled about, they must have cost a fortune.

Taverna’s on BB & LB are more like 10 x 10 foot square sheds, unless they are going to add more. Nothing is open yet lots of new electricity poles being erected, huge cables being strung across, even today Sunday.'

Previous Blog:  Greek Kagianas (or strapatsada) ...

Greek Kagianas (or strapatsada) ...

Did you enjoy the Royal Wedding ...

We certainly did, makes you feel good. Only the Brits can put on a show like that. Junior was very excited by it, after all every girl wants to be a princess, and marry a prince.

SWMBO though is not a fan, 'even in the deepest darkest days of communism' ...

I was watching and then when Meghan spoke, I thought I was watching am out take scene from Love actually. She even had a gospel choir, and the pastor from the USA was brilliant. He could make people go to church again ...

Talking of cutting room out takes, soon be time for Mamma Mia 2 ...

Well its the morning after the night before, perhaps Harry needs to dip into this Greek family connections, for his breakfast this morning. Perhaps his grandad has a family recipe for Meghan to whip up for him this morning ...

A summer brunch might just be one of the best ways to spend your sunday too. Especially if you’ve had a late night on Saturday, Perhaps after a few glasses celebrating after the wedding.

Breakfast, or if you have had a lie in, brunch is always a good start to a warm Sunday morning, food and (Please it has to be a decent) coffee, blinking in the sunlight ...

One of my favourite recipes for eggs is Strapatsada. In Greece, this combination of flavours is often called Kagianas, and resembles scrambled eggs mixed with tomatoes.

Now there are decent sweet tomatoes in the shops, not those ones that look red, but are pink, and once you get them home look and taste awful. Take your toms away from the halogen lights and see what they look like. Better still buy them from a market outside in natural light ...

I first had this dish a few years ago, on a hot August Skiathos afternoon, cooked by my lovely friend Vassou. I remember watching her patiently waiting for the tomatoes to cook, then adding the eggs, and serving with hand cut chips. Then sprinkling feta cheese on top, You have to take your time cooking this and V likes to talk ...

After tasting for the first time the sweetness of tomatoes blended with the eggs and the salty cheese. My Greek world of food would never be the same again. My mind was blown, and remains so to this day. Anyway lets get back to the eggs :) ...

This dish, with its many variations has followed me and when summer comes it returns to my thoughts. In London, the cousin of the Greek kagianas (or strapatsada), is the well-known middle-eastern shakshouka eggs, which are  popular especially round South Kensington, Borough market and at Gatwick airport south terminal where they really spice it up.

For 2 people you will need:

3 tbsp of olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 large ripe tomatoes cut in cubes
½ tsp sweet smoked paprika (Optional if you want a Lebanese type dish)
1tsp oregano
4 eggs
6 sun dried tomatoes, very finely chopped

Over a medium heat gently fry the onion until translucent. Add the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and (add the paprika if required) and half of the sun-dried tomatoes. Cook for 5-10min, until the sauce thickens a bit.

Add the oregano. Taste and adjust for seasoning.

Then you can either ...

Create four holes with the back of your spoon in the tomato sauce and crack the eggs. Around the eggs, sprinkle the rest of the sun dried tomatoes. Place the lid on the pan for a few minutes.


Scramble the eggs through the tomato sauce, stirring them slowly until cooked. The mix will seem rather orange, but will taste fantastic.

Once the eggs are cooked serve with crusty bread, hand cut fries cooked in Olive oil, sprinkled with oregano, and if you cannot make a frappe, then an iced black coffee ...

Previous blog: Undercover reporters ...

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Undercover reporters ...

Update from the other end of the island ...

"Went to BB today so much easier to get there, old dusty slope to Banana doesn’t exist anymore. New sun-beds out and umbrellas, nobody in new development still doing work, but not very much.  Was only about 20 people on BB.  

I went over the rocks to LB only about 40 people there and came back to BB via the new road which ends not too far from LB.  (Will send some photos later)

 Only been here 2 days and have been stung twice once by a wasp and once by a bee"

Message ends ...

Congratulations Chelsea FC pride of London ...

Previous Blog: 75 Years ago (cont) ...

Thursday, 17 May 2018

75 Years ago (cont) ...

17 May 1943

00.15 Astell's plane collided with high tension cables north of the Ruhr. There were no survivors.

00.36 The first plane returned to RAF Scampton. Munro was forced abort as his Lancaster was badly damaged when it was hit by flak.

Rice arrived a short while later. Flying low, his aircraft hit the surface of the sea. The Upkeep mine was ripped free, the back flooded with water, and the men were lucky to be alive.

Of the first wave of planes to take off, none reached their target.

00.28 Gibson ran the first attack on the Möhne. He approached the water so low his crew warned he was about to hit the trees. He turned on his spotlights so his navigator could tell him when he was flying at exactly 60ft and, flying at 230mph and the bomb was released. Flying the 30 tonne plane fast and low whilst illuminated to become the target for every gun in sight, Gibson admitted he was incredibly frightened as he kept the plane steady.

The mine bounced three times and sank. A great spout of water surged up and over the dam wall, and the men thought it had collapsed. But as it subsided they realised that it had sunk short.

The water settled and Hopgood was called in to attack.

Now the German gunners knew what to expect and he was hit. He dropped the bomb too late and it bounced over the dam, destroying the power house as it exploded at the foot of the dam wall.

Other pilots watched on as the plane “crashed into flames”. The men bailed out, but only the rear gunner and bomber aimer were successful, the other crew members perished.

00.38 Martin flew round and dropped his bomb as Gibson flew on his wing to distract the gunners. The bomb veered to the left and exploded near the bank of the reservoir twenty yards from the dam.

Young was called up and made the perfect approach and drop, shielded by Martin, and his bomb hit the centre of the dam, which appeared to stay intact.

00.39 Martin and Gibson both acted as decoys as Maltby made his approach. He saw the centre of the dam was already crumbling and dropped the mine. Sgt Vivian Nicholson, wrote in his log: “‘Bomb dropped. Wizard.’ They successfully struck again and the dam collapsed.

00.56 Gibson sent a signal to base using morse. The Möhne had been breached. He used the name of his beloved pet Labrador as a codeword.

One target down, the men headed to the Eder, but as the mist thickened even finding it was difficult. At the dam Lancasters, with a wing span of 102ft, dropped down from over 1000ft to the lake and flew a curving approach, hopping over a spit of land which rose to 50ft less than a mile from the target.

They lined up at the correct height and speed and dropped their mine then pulled up steeply to avoid the 300ft hill which rose precipitously immediately behind the dam.

They fell under heavy fire and signals became confused.

01.54 Gibson sent his signal: Dinghy. The second dam, Eder, had been breached. As Knight's mine hit the dam it crumbled and collapsed, sending 202 million tons of water cascading down the valley and beyond.

02.30 Ottley's plane was given the signal to attack the Lister dam, and the message was acknowledged by the aircraft.

02.32 Ottley was told to attack the Sorpe instead. No acknowledgement was received. He had strayed over the heavily defended town of Hamm and his aircraft was hit and caught fire, crashed, and the fuel tanks and then the mine exploded. Sergeant Tees, the rear gunner, was blown clear from the plane and survived, badly burned, to become the third PoW.

The crash was witnessed by other crews, including that of Gibson who was passing on his return journey and who hoped, in vain, that the exploding aircraft was a night fighter.

Burpee also strayed off course, and flew over a German airfield at Gilze-Rijen near Tilburg where the plane was hit by flak, caught fire and exploded, before crashing on the edge of the airfield, killing all on board.

Of the nineteen which left Scampton, eleven had completed their bombing runs. Two had returned early, five had been lost on the outward journey and one at the Mohne dam.

At this point the men had no idea what had happened to the other crews. Byers and Barlow were logged as ”missing without trace”.

The surviving aircraft, including one crew which could not find its target, still had to make their way home across hundreds of miles of hostile territory

Maudslay’s aircraft, possibly damaged by its own bomb when attacking the Eder, strayed too close to the oil refineries at Emmerich on its return journey and was shot down.

02.58 Young's Lancaster was the last to be lost on the mission. The men were shot down by enemy fire on the coast of Holland and crashed into the sea. There were no survivors.

03.00 McCarthy sent a signal to say that he had launched the attack on the Sorpe. The attack had been weakened by the loss of four planes from the mission, with two crews dead and two back on British soil. McCarthy arrived first, but had to approach nine times before he could drop his bomb as they had to clear a high hill and avoid a church steeple.

Brown joined him, and also managed to drop his bomb close to after flying at the dam six times.

The Sorpe was badly damaged, but never breached.

03.14 The first aircraft to have completed the mission, piloted by Maltby, landed back on British soil.

There was no signal given to the men to pull off the mission. Instead, each aircraft had to make its own decision. Gibson told his men: “This squadron will either make history or be completely wiped out.”

03.28 Gibson joins other members of his crew back at RAF Scampton.

06.15: The last surviving plane landed. The Dambusters raid was over.

Of the 133 men who left RAF Scampton 53 were killed and three captured. Eight of the original 19 Lancaster bombers were damaged or shot down.

The pencil ticks on the right mark the aircraft that returned. 8 did not. 53 crew were killed. 3 became PoWs. Lest We Forget.

Pictures of 7 of the 8 Lancaster Captains who did not return from the Dambusters raid. Sqn Ldr Young’s photo missing.

 Excerpt from the 617 Squadron logbook.

On the ground 1,294 people were killed, including 749 Ukrainian prisoners of war based in a camp just below the Eder dam.

Some 92 factories were damaged and 12 were destroyed. Several power plants were destroyed or shut down, 8 bridges were damaged and 25 were destroyed.

Gibson, who was later awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery, said: “Normally you don’t know when you’re going to die, you see. You always think that ‘it will not happen to me.’

“But, that raid on the dams was the one time in… when you… when we knew that we were going to die. Or not die as the case may be. You know, the hair which was hanging on our life was very thin. And then there’s just a feeling of… a funny empty feeling in the stomach, but not frightened.”

617 association historian Robert Owen said that the raid had gone down in history because of its sheer bravery.

"There is almost a Boy's Own element to it,” he said. “You have this slightly eccentric engineer who claims that he can make a four tonne bomb that can bounce over water, you have got the skill and bravery of the crew.

“It is like David and Goliath, this small number of aircraft against this massive impregnable target in the heart of Germany with all its defences, and they were successful.”

Previous Blog: 75 Years ago ...

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

75 Years ago ...

16 May, 1943

75 years ago tonight,  617 Squadron flew out of RAF Scampton on Operation Chastise. 133 men took off to attack the Ruhr dams. Only 77 of them returned.

The legend of "The Dambusters" was born. They were led by Wing Commander Guy Gibson; who was just 24 years old. So tonight, I salute their courage, their skill & their sacrifice ...

18.00 UK time:  “We are going to attack the great dams of Germany”, Wing Commander Guy Gibson revealed to his men in their final briefing. They had been training to fly at low height and deliver a bouncing bomb over water, but for most, this was the first they knew of their targets.

19.30 The crew were given their last meal – two eggs and bacon. Some of the canteen staff guessed that they were about to fly out, as it was the only time that they were given two eggs. Some of the men knew that this would be their last ever mission, and gave instructions for their affairs to be put in order.

21.28 The first of three waves of Lancasters took off from RAF Scampton. Cloaked in secrecy as ever, they flew out under complete radio silence. The 19 planes, carrying a total of 133 airmen, took different routes to trick the Germans into thinking the raid was bigger than it was.

Wing Commander Guy Gibson (in door of aircraft) and his crew board their Avro Lancaster bomber for the mission

Robert Barlow, Les Munro, Geoff Rice and Vernon Byers, piloted the first planes, heading for the Sorpe. Theirs was the longest route.

The Lancasters headed out across the North Sea toward the Dutch coast, but the winds were higher than expected and they began to stray off course.

22.01 Joe McCarthy, also bound for the Sorpe, took off late as his aircraft was broken and he had to change planes. He flew alongside Gibson, Micky Martin, John Hopgood, Henry Young, Dave Shannon, David Maltby, Henry Maudslay, Les Knight and Bill Astell.

The final wave, the Airborne reserve, captained by Warner Ottley, Lewis Burpee, Ken Brown, Bill Townsend and Cyril Anderson waited anxiously at the base until just after midnight before take off.

22.57 The first plane was lost. In the bad weather Byers strayed off course over the heavily defended island of Texel. The Lancaster was shot down by enemy fire. All of the men were killed.

The other crews carried on.

23.50 Barlow's plane hit the power lines in enemy territory after being hit with flak. There were no survivors.

The crews flew beneath power cables, along roads and below the level of the surrounding trees to avoid enemy defences, but as they were blown off course they hit obstacles.

Gibson’s wave made their way across the North Sea and into the Netherlands.

His formation - or 'vic' - crossed the coast at the ominously named island of Overflakee, but flying fast and low they took the Germans by surprise, crossing the heavily defended island unscathed.

The second formation, ten minutes behind, climbed higher to use their radio aids and discovered the unforecast wind, but the German radars picked them up and they opened fire.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Nice and warm ...

Sounds good to me ...

Temperature anomaly across Europe over the next 5 days (GFS): most of Europe will get about average temperatures for this time, under the influence of the large cutoff low in the CNTRL Mediterranean.

Scandinavia and W Russia will be scorching HOT! Up to 10°C above average, If you are there might be worth waiting a week (Not you Stig) ...

It's SWMBO birthday today, and its one she was not meant to see. So I am cooking her something special, and opening that bottle of bubbles, that has been hidden away, for far too many years.

Previous Blog: The wreck of the Katsonis ...

Saturday, 12 May 2018

The wreck of the Katsonis ...

Exact location finally confirmed ...

From the Hydrological Service of the Hellenic Republic, it is announced that the exact location of the historical shipwreck of the Katsonis submarine was confirmed by optical means at a distance of 6 nm. northwest of the village of Skiathos and at a depth of 253 meters.

The shipwreck was identified by the hydrological-oceanographic vessel NAYTILOS of YY on January 29, 2018 using multibeam sonar and sidescan sonar.

Its identification was made by the same ship from 4 to 6/5/2018 using submarine robotic cameras (ROVs) from the diving crew of K. THOKATRIDI.

The recognition company also participated in the FAOS tv filming company with appropriate equipment.

Source Info ...

Y-1 “Katsonis” was one of only six submarines available to the Greeks in 1940.
Despite being an aged submarine by World War II, it was used extensively in war patrols and commando operations in the Adriatic and the Aegean Sea, before being sunk by a German subchaser in 1943.

Operational History

1925 – Laid down
1927 – Launched
8 June 1928 – Commissioned. First captain is Cdr Κ. Arvanitis.
3 – 10 Nov. 1940 – First war patrol (under Cdr Spanidis). Adriatic, 216 hours (84 subm./132 surf.).
22 Dec. 1940 – 4 Jan. 1941 – Second war patrol (under Cdr The Argus, 6 January 1941 (Australian newspaper)Athanasios Spanidis). Adriatic, 312 hours (132 subm./180 surf.).
31 Dec. 1940 – Sinks the 531-ton Italian freighter Quinto (531 GRT) off Antivari
14 – 21 Feb. 1941 – Third war patrol (under Cdr Spanidis). Adriatic, 168 hours (60 subm./108 surf.).
24 Mar. – 1 Apr. 1941 – Fourth war patrol (under Cdr Spanidis). Adriatic, 216 hours (84 subm./132 surf.).
From Port Said to Port Sudan Apr. 1941 – After the German invasion, Katsonis escapes to the Middle East, operating with the British Pennant number N 16.
2 July 1942 – Damaged while exiting a dry dock at Port Said.
28 Mar. – 10 Apr. 1943 – Fifth war patrol (under Cdr Laskos). Aegean/Crete, 408 hours (170 subm./238 surf.).
After patrolling the North Aegean and later disembarking commandos in the Lakonia, Katsonis encounters three sail boats, which, contrary to orders, Laskos spares because they were carrying food to Piraeus during the famine.
The same day they encounter another sail boat, one of the crew of which offers information regarding the movements of an enemy patrol boat off Gytheio.
They take him on board and give him the nickname “Lafiro” (plunder).
2 Apr. 1943 – Katsonis approaches the port of Gytheio and sinks an Italian minelayer with torpedoes.
According to a British article, it was carrying depth charges and torpedoes, and 20 Italian officers and soldiers were killed on it.
5 Apr. 1943 – Sinks the Spanish/German 1,500-ton merchant steamship San Issidro (322 GRT) off Kythnos.
21 May – 4 June 1943 – Sixth war patrol (under Cdr Laskos). Aegean, 456 hours (186 subm./270 surf.).
Vasileios Laskos 29 May 1943 – Sinks the German freighter Rigel (552 GRT) near Skiathos.
2 June 1943 – Fires two torpedoes at the Italian cargo ship Versilia (591 GRT) off Karlovassi, but misses.
5 – 14 Sep. 1943 – Seventh war patrol (under Cdr Laskos). North Aegean, 212 hours (107 subm./105 surf.).
The mission is to patrol North Aegean and land commandos. The boat quickly shows its age, with main problem the failure of one engine.
Nevertheless, Laskos continues the war patrol.
8 Sep. 1943 – Katsonis receives the message for the Italian armistice.
11 Sep. 1943 – Lands the Greek commandos without incident.
12 Sep. 1943 – Intercepts two sail boats and Laskos finds out that a captured French ship, Simfra, is carrying German soldiers on leave.
13 – 14 Sep. 1943 – Charges its batteries and submerges to patrol the area between Pilio and Skiathos, looking for Simfra. Laskos spots a sail boat and decides to surface to try to get more information about Simfra.
While he is still talking probably to the boat’s skipper, what looks like Simfra is spotted in the horizon.
Katsonis soon receives optical identification signals from the ship, but it isn’t Simfra. It is the German subchaser UJ-2101.
Katsonis crash dives, but soon receives depth charges and is forced to resurface.
Laskos orders the crew to return fire with the cannon, and after the gunners are killed, he himself takes their place, but is soon killed too, and Katsonis sinks.

31 men of the crew, including the captain, as well as “Lafiro” went down with Katsonis:


15 were captured, while Lt. Tsoukalas and petty officers Tsingros swam for 9 hours to reach Skiathos and Antoniou to reach Pilio.
They later returned to the Middle East.


Y-1 Katsonis submarine
Displacement: Surfaced 576 tons, Submerged 775 tons

Length: 62.4 m
Beam: 5.3 m
Draft: 3.35 m
Propulsion: 2 × 2-cycle Schneider-Carels diesel 1,300hp, 2 × electric 1,000hp
Complement: 39-45
Max. Dive: 73 m
Speed: (Surf.) 14 knots, (Subm.) 9.5 knots
Range: (Surf.) 3,500 nm @ 10 knots, (Subm.) 100 nm @ 5 knots
Armament: 6x 533mm torpedo tubes (2 internal bow, 2 external bow, 2 external stern; 7 torpedoes),1x 100mm cannon, 2x machine guns

Previous Blog: Currency exchange ...