Monday, 31 January 2011

Smoke free cafes ...

No it does not mean free cigarettes.

But today, on a cold wet Monday the smoking ban was enforced.
The municipality police were visiting premises, making sure the law was being complied with.

There were some disgruntled locals out in the cold enjoying their cigarettes. But overall the cafes were smoke free environments.

One couple toured the cafes looking for one where they could smoke, presumably they went home. One lady thought the toilets are not part of the enforcement area of the law.
There were some who voiced their opinion that they were now being forced to be 'European' but that was a short argument. After all the country has given up the drachma, and been bailed out by Europe for its financial woes with the euro.

At the moment it seems no-one wants to be the first person to be caught and fined. Someone will cop it - the Municipality have to provide records centrally of enforcement and fines ...

Sunday, 30 January 2011

I think i may have started something ...

Well its quiet on the island.

Suddenly everyone is on about what they are cooking. Soups seem to be popular, but they were this time last year too.

However earlier today my friend Andrea asked about what i was up too. I mentioned the marmalade made from the oranges i had picked on Friday.

They are not short of excellent fruit where they live, and i had spotted some excellent lemons on the tree. Well it seems this afternoon they became lemon marmalade ...

We have arranged a tasting for both varieties, some time in the next few days - Breakfasts have moved up a gear for a few weeks at least and very nice it is too ...

Friday, 28 January 2011

Chemistry ...

As 'Nobby Butler' my old chemistry teacher used to say, 'is the appliance of science'

Method
  • Take some Oranges and Lemons squeeze until the pips pop. (Pestle and Mortar)
  • Chop them up, return them to their own liquid in a saucepan (Beaker vessel)
  • Add heat and simmer on a low flame, for two hours (Bunsen Burner)
  • Add warm Sugar (C12H22O11.)
  • Check every 15 minutes, to see if a 'Chemical reaction' has taken place.
  • Smear liquid on a cooled plate, to see if 'set' has occured (Litmus test)
  • Leave the solution to cool for 20 minutes (Residual cooling)
  • Put into jars that have been washed thoroughly, in warm soapy water, rinsed, dried, then warmed in a medium oven for 5 minutes. (Sterilising)
  • Label when completely cold as 'Vromliminos Bitter Marmalade'

I knew it would come in handy one day - Thanks 'Nobby and Saint Delia' ...

Oh - and here's one i prepared earlier ...



Thursday, 27 January 2011

Smoking Regulations ...

The municipality police were advising businesses this afternoon, that they will be enforcing the smoking regulations from Monday.

Fines for non compliance are €500 for the owner of the business, and €300 for the offending customer.

Ash trays left the tables very quickly ...

Running repairs ...

Off to see the chainsaw man this morning.

What a revelation he was too, showed me what to do, repaired the chain, sharpened the damaged teeth and re-fixed the chain. Training completed total charge €1 ...

I was shocked and he would not take a tip, so i bought some gloves and still felt mean.

Then down to the beach, and was able to see steam rising off the water, in the early morning sun rays. No drift wood at all, but one very old Olive log, that i was able to try out the chainsaw on - until i ran out of petrol.

Picked up the last of the bitter oranges. some lovely large lemons and headed home - Not a bad mornings work.

Now off for a walk in the winter sunshine ...

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Warmth ...

Of an open fire ...

Despite my best efforts with a chainsaw, and plenty of advice from the neighbours, I admit defeat. I spent quite some time sawing up olive wood in the street, but the roots removed the chain from the saw.

Its been rather cold today and the old house has cooled down considerably. So this evening i set about lighting the main fire place and getting it up to temperature.

A couple of hours later and at times a rather smoky room but three of the large roots had been reduced to red embers, and the house was warm again ...

Monday, 24 January 2011

Sad News ...


Christina said ...

"SkiathIan, and your friends who helped so spontaneously with giving advice what to do....


I have to tell you that my dearly feather friend, Hawky has been put down. You have no idea how horrible i feel after three days taking care of this beautiful bird.

The VET said the wing was in such a bad stage - also because three days - There was still, the option to sent her to Athens, but that would be not before 2mrw morning, and then by bus to Athens, it should be all too much, and the question was still, should she ever be able to fly again.


Those idiots who have been shooting, they are pathetic !...."

Mrs Buzzard ...

Still doing well, Christina has found a vet to see the bird this afternoon.

If all goes well, it seems there is an animal rescue facility in Volos who may be able to help ...

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Sunny Sunday ...

Yes another one ...

But this time we are assured the little summer will not last. Snow had been forecast today and as with all weather forecasts its been a lovely morning here on the rock.

Out and about the harbour children were playing, as parents watched from the coffee shops on the paralia. The warmth of sunshine on your back and the need for sunglasses to shield your eyes from the bright glare from the light.

The walk did me good, i have been feeling the effects of a chill. Shivers and unable to keep warm. However this morning when i opened the shutters and saw blue skies i knew i had to get out and about today.

I bumped into friends - the sun drew them into town, and an impromptu coffee in the sun - why not ?

Then a frappe on their terrace, as we caught up on our respective film libraries. They should be needed later this week as we are expecting a week of rain - if the forecast is true.

Top billing for tonight is ...

... The Kings Speech. I am looking forward to this one ...

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Bandaged up ...

Here she is ...

Putting up with the human interference quite well.

She is a 'Common Buzzard' and likes a nip at the glove that feeds her and has quite a grip.

Latest news is that the Vet could not help, as she has no 'avian' experience. So its now all down to Christina to see if she can get her feathered friend back well again.

Christina said: I changed this morning the strap, she did eat her dinner (mince meat) and where the wing is injured i have put my (own made) hypericum oil. (which is disinfecting)

Friday, 21 January 2011

Hunters ...

If they are reading this then lets hope they are proud of themselves ...


Christina Kofinas who has the Blue Donkey farm shop in Kolios, has found an injured Hawk. As you can see its a beautiful but wounded creature.

If any of the bird lovers can give any advice on treatment if possible - It will be very welcome.

Christina Kofinas wrote:
Skiathos has -still- beautiful birds, but there are some idiots who like to shoot anything what flies, like this one, found today in our land, broken wing .......... what to do ?

I have posted messages requesting advice to see if this beautiful creature can be saved, answers from friends as far away as San Fransisco and New York have been posted and passed on to Christina.

Yet the one that rings true, is the message sent to me earlier by my friend Brian, who also gave excellent advice, so i repeat it here.

Brian said ...

It is one of the most beautiful creatures we have the the pleasure of sharing this planet with, and for some reckless, brain dead moron to attempt to take it's life drives me into a rage !!!

Sadly, unless it gets professional help very quickly we will lose it.

The first 24 hours are critical, when the "shock" wears off the bird's respiratory system will be begin to fail, I rang a good friend of mine tonight who knows more than me about shotgun wounds on birds , he agrees ... VET as soon as !!!

By the the way ... its a female and I think she is a Honey Buzzard.

Easy to shoot by cowards with guns because they fly/glide slowly on thermals as they migrate



Thursday, 20 January 2011

Sunny days and Cold nights ...

Island life is rather quiet at the moment ...

The highlight of the day is the Express Santorini ferry ariving at 11.15, announced with a blast of the ships horn. The Express Santorini is the relief boat, and still covering the route as the Express Skiathos, which is still being repaired in Piraeus.

Off down to watch the arrivals, a glance in the mail cage as Stelios unloads it, just to see if your parcels from Amazon have arrived. Watching the lorries emerge from the car deck is like watching a whale or dolphin give birth. Only this baby gives birth again on the ring road or at Xanemos with goods and supplies for the island.

Before that the lorries have to twist and turn like eels, past parked cars to exit the harbour gates. People scurry like ants from the boat, laden with bags from Ikea, Jumbo and Praktika heading for home.

Once the fun is over and you see who has arrived from the mainland then, in a roar of diesel smoke the lines are slipped, the water boils and foams and the Santorini glides away towards Skopolos.
Then peace descends, the coffee shops are the centre of activity again. The only noise the rattle of dice on a backgammon board until a few hours later when it all happens again - In reverse

Then you see who is leaving the island on holiday, business or pleasure. You will be interrogated by friends, where are you going? How long for ? When will you be back ?
The lorries and trucks are reloaded and off they go to Volos.

Its been a pattern of Sunny days and Cold nights but hardly any winds. Its like another little Summer. Spring flowers are poking their heads up and little yellow flowers can be found along hedgerows and under shrubs.

Its warm enough to walk around in a jumper, if you are from the northern countries, but the locals are wrapped up in heavy coats and cover their mouths to keep out the chill. After dark its a definite wrap up warm as you can.

Thermal insulation of the local variety is Tsipouro. Its quite amazing to see in the morning how many people are clearly suffering the effects of the night before. Watery eyes and that 'hang dog' look that we all know so well. Not that it stops anyone getting on a motorbike car etc.

Another day, Life on a green island ...






Monday, 17 January 2011

A new toy ...

I have a new toy ...

I was the most talked about man in the post office, this afternoon. General consensus is that i have a bargain, and the only criticism is that it may be a little heavy.

But the postmaster said its good quality, and up to the job.

So now i am armed and its dangerous, Only this baby can cut, saw, maim and remove limbs ...



I have been sawing up Olive wood logs by hand, so hopefully, this will make life a little easier.

Its tool time ...

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Sunrise ...

07.45am ...

Looking good for a meze kind of day ...

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Too much water ...

Awoke this morning to the sound of rain on the roof ...

I like it, tucked up in bed and the percussion of the rain banging on the roof. This is accompanied by the sound of water pouring into the street from a neighbours roof.

There was an ankle deep torrent roaring down the street, when i opened the door. I glanced at my boots, still soaked after last nights expedition on the paralia.

Danger of trench foot if i wear them today ...

Sometimes you can have too much water, and today is one of those days. The storm drain outside is overflowing. Somewhere further down the system its blocked. Our culvert slowly fills then the water flows down the street - the reason my boots were filled last night.

After a pointless trip to the council offices, i employed the services of my friend Vasilis. He being Greek knows all the right people where as my neighbours being Greek, shrug and its not their problem. Its not mine either but someone somewhere, is getting the water that should go down the drain and out into the sea.

Vasilis reported back that the council were not the people responsible - it was the power and water company, more specifically the Skiathos water company. Only they do not know me or the drain - so i draw them a map, just like i did the postman.

Watch this space for further trench foot warfare ...

Interestingly accuweather and the other weather sites said it was sunny here this morning - maybe at 4000 feet it was - but not down here ...

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

What was that ...

A storm !!!

Someone said the other day that storms do not happen in winter. I said that's not true, I have been here in Skiathos and sheltered from the rain and lightning ...

So this evening the lightning was all around me and thunder rattling off the buildings as i made my way along the paralia. Rain drumming on my umbrella. By the time i got home i was soaked to the skin.

What a way to make a point ...

Monday, 10 January 2011

The 2011 Skiathos Calendar ...

This year is sponsored by the Calypso tourist boat and the Skiathos Palace Hotel ...

and costs €5 ...

Thursday, 6 January 2011

The Carpenters co-operative ...

Sad news ...

I heard today that after 25 years, the carpenters co-operative is closing for the last time. Great business and guys who have looked after the needs of many ex-pats, and island businesses alike. They will be missed here on the island.

The fishing tackle shop up at Acropolis is another victim of the fall out from the recession. it too is closing ...

Time for a dip ...

Too cold for me, but not for these brave lads.
It was pouring down when they went for a swim.
The Pappa held them like the start of the Grand National ...

Then they were in and the cross was recovered quickly ...


Antonis Pantelakis's recovers the cross from the deep ...





Squally skies ...

Epiphany dawned under squally skies ...

Up early and up at Taxiacharis, daybreak revealed squally skies


Looking north towards Thessaloniki ...


The skies began to lift as the sun rose ...

Skopolos and low clouds and rain over Allonissos ...

Heavy skies over Evia ...

Great colours over the harbour ...

... and over Plakes too


So i headed out on a little drive down the island in search of kindling for the fire ...

I bumped into some hunters with their dogs, they were somewhat less than impressed when i threw a clementine for one of the dogs to chase, after it came up to check me out.
I like dogs but the hunters tend not to treat them well, so best to distract the hound in case they take a lump out of me.

The sun was peeking through when i returned along Megali Amos ...


Did i mention clementines ?

Free food from natures garden here on Skiathos ...


These were spotted the other day, the aroma from them as i picked them was intoxicating in its citrus sweetness ...

Now the church bells are ringing for the Epiphany church service ...


Epiphany celebration in Skiathos ...

Known as the 12th day of Christmas, επιφάνεια in Greek, Epiphany literally means miraculous phenomenon. It is a Christian feast intended to celebrate the 'shining forth' or revelation of God to mankind in human form, in the person of Jesus. Also called the called the Feast of the Theophany (In Greek Θεοφάνεια, "God shining forth"), it is one of the great feasts of the liturgical year.


This holiday is also much noted for the "blessing of the water" which is conducted by Eastern Orthodox churches and is very common within the Greek Orthodox faith. After a divine litergy, people meet at the nearest body of water ( whether it be a lake, river, ocean or pond and in modern days even pools are used), and a priest throws a cross into the water. Young men jump into the body of water to retrieve the cross and who ever finds it gets himself and his family blessed for a full year.


The Festival of Epiphany, or 'The Blessing of the Waters', is held every year on January 6 throughout all of Greece.


This morning after the church service, the brave young (and not so young) will dive into the cold water in the harbour, swim 50 metres and dive for the cross, which will be cast into the sea by the Pappa from Tries Hieraches church. The lucky person who retrieves the cross will collect money gifts, from the townsfolk as they go door to door and around the harbour cafes ...


Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Rain ...

Hammering on the roof ...

The winter rain has arrived, it has been showery the last few days, but now its tipping it down. It washes the streets and cleans the dust away.

So behind closed shutters, its a good time to read a book ...

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Me and Kate ...

Raining outside, logs on the fire ...

What a great DVD i have just seen, its even made me read a book.


Kate won just about every award with this film, now i know why ...




Monday, 3 January 2011

Knobs and Knockers ...

There are a number of hardware shops on the ring road ...

When you want something you venture into them, take a wander around and never find what you are looking for. The most interesting of them is a shop we call Knobs and Knockers ...

Its stacked high with just about everything, however they outgrew their premises in town, and moved to the ring road. Somehow i think they found a lot of stock, they did not know they had. But if you want something, they probably have it somewhere - you just have to find it.

Now if you can imagine the language barrier, explaining what you want and how to do it.

Quite often it ends up like this ...

Good intentions ...

I did have them - Honest ...

However when i opened the door, and saw the clouds down the hill - I could not drag myself out, and up to taxiacharis this morning.

So after cleaning out the fire, I chopped dried driftwood into kindling. Then moved the Olive wood logs around to find ones of a suitable size. I took another look, (Like the cricket umpires at the SCG) and the clouds, although higher, look darker and more menacing than before.

Its going to be a showery breezy kind of day again - Shame as we enjoyed our New Years Day afternoon down on Vromliminos, and want to do it again.


Sunday, 2 January 2011

Hunter-gatherer ...

According to Wikpedia ...

"A hunter-gatherer is one whose primary subsistence method involves the direct procurement of edible plants and animals from the wild, foraging and hunting without significant recourse to the domestication of either. Up to 80% of the food is obtained by gathering"

Well i am nowhere near that yet but am doing quite well on the Lemon and Oranges at the moment. They are in season and abundant all over the island. Strawberry fruits are still available, and the Sage is just amazing. However my quest for Quince has been denied - Someone beat me too it.

I have become a fan of http://www.argiro.com.gr/ Its quite a good website for Greek Cookery. Argiro Barbarigou it seems is a Greek Delia Smith

Should my quest for Quince be answered, This is the recipe I want to try

But until then, I will put another log on the fire, Tonight its me, Julia, "Eatin Prayin Lovin" and some really good Dundee Cake that i relocated from the UK ...

Saturday, 1 January 2011

On the beach ...

When the sun is out, its New Years Day ...

Its always a good idea to take a stroll and enjoy the beach



Maybe a passing Gull for company ...



But not another soul in sight anywhere ...



Peace and quiet ...



A shimmering sea ...



Gentle waves washing the pebbles at your feet ...



A naked beach, just like nature intended ...



Watched over by a lonely Geranium ...



And warm sunshine ...



On aged sandstone rocks...


That was the way we spent our afternoon on January 1st on Vromliminos ...

Happy New Year ...

Lots of gunfire here in town, it must be midnight, or a few scores are being settled ...

PS We are now next year - Xronia Polla from us in 2011 Yammas Cheers ...