Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Territorial disputes ...

The noise woke me at 5am

The viciosness of some of the cat fights is quite something at times, this mornings dispute was quite a lengthy one. They fight over the dustbins, and bags of waste, They fight over territory, lovers, and they fight over the right to fight it seems.

It seems the only thing they are frightened of is human, and being a Greek cat that is probably wise. The strange thing is that at this time of the year the human from elsewhere, is acceptable as it feeds them.

Here on Skiathos there are around three groups that try to look after them. They too fight about who does it best. There are a legion of well wishers who do their best feeding them. One friend and reader of this blog brings medicines from the United States for them.

Even the dogs home looks after cats, for some reason the Greeks like to deposit them there overnight. If I was a cat the last place I would like to be left is in a dog shelter. But that is the better of all evils, rather than a bag and a dustbin like some or sadly poison for another.

Later this year, there will be a benefit concert hosted by Vasilis Koralis. He gathers a legion of Dancers, Musicians, and  Performers to the stage at the Bourtzi. It was his idea that funds raised are used for the welfare of the cats and dogs here on Skiathos. He canvassed and gained the support of the Mayor on the issue - who donated the Bourtzi theatre for its use.

This the third year, he will again make all the arrangements, posters, flyers, performers and choreography for the show - almost single handedly. Funds raised are devided between the dog shelter and the cat society for the benefit of the animals.

However we know how much the dogs shelter do for the dogs - caring for, rehoming and even relocating to foreign countries the puppies and dogs from this small island - for a better life.

But for the cats the societies argue over territory, and funds and who does things best. They fight and argue and perhaps lose their objectives. I for one struggle to see what benefit they deliver or achieve despite best intentions.

Like our town cats at 5am perhaps the only way to settle a dispute is by a well placed, but intentional bucket of water to cool things down and get on with life - for the better of all concerned ...




Monday, 30 May 2011

Meltemi ...

Not the hotel - The wind ...

The Meltemi wind is blowing this morning from the north, the sun is out in a clear blue sky. The weather forecast remains for rain showers, as it has for the last three days - but its wrong again, its very warm.

Some of the yachts departed this morning, in near perfect sailing conditions - but under engine power. Clearly they can afford the fuel costs in their ticket price.

I watched the Transavia from Amsterdam come in to land, followed by two further flights, one from Stockholm and a Finnair from Helsinki. All fighting their way down, on the strong headwind on runway 02.

The Express Skiathos docked on time, its anchors making a big splash as they hit the water, Then the rattle of around 100 metres of chain entering the harbour to hold it steady, against the strong crosswinds.

The old harbour sheltered from the winds was like an oven, calm and almost searing heat.

Still that did not stop junior enjoying some quality time in the childrens play area. Whilst dad watched the Achladies water taxi depart with Flying cat 5 heading away to Skopolos ...



Sunday, 29 May 2011

Late news - Just in ...

"No Name" has put its prices up for the first time in living memory ...

Friday, 27 May 2011

Full on Friday ...

Full programme of flights from UK - 11 today, plus the start of the season long Air Berlin - Dusseldorf service and the daily Olympic to squeeze in.

If someone causes their aircraft to miss its slot by a lazy time in duty free. They will sit on the ground in the UK waiting for a parking spot at Skiathos, and circle over Skopolos touring the Mamma Mia sites waiting for it to become free ...

Its not the best of days either, we have had rain overnight and again this morning. Its looking a little dark over the hills too.

Taverna Alexandros ...

Last night the clouds started to build, and we had a few drips of rain. Some rather ominous looking  clouds passed quite close to the island, and against a pinkish hue you could see the rain falling.

It was a quiet evening on the Paralia, I wondered if many on their last night avoided coming to town. One eye on the skies, the other on a more local taverna.

So at close of play I headed home, and popped into Taverna Alexandros to say hello to Alex.

After all a number of people had asked me how to get to the Taverna this evening. I had asked them all to say hello to Alex from me, and tell him that he is the most miserable waiter ever.

It was apparent that they had, and Alex was laughing and threatening to get me. There were a few of them still there, customers who raised a glass, and confirmed they had a great meal, and evening listening to the music under the Mulberry tree.

Magda said have a glass of wine, so I sat down and listened to Dimitris and Christos on the Bazouki and Guitar singing. It was a lovely end to the evening as the first drips of rain began to fall ...





Thursday, 26 May 2011

I am from ...

Many countries it seems ...

I have had some great fun these last few days discussing Cricket with Australian visitors  - All in good humour and some great jokes and friendly banter.

They asked me where to go, I replied So you travel half way across the world and don't know where to go ? We laugh and they call me a 'Pommie' So I ask if they are true Australians ? Of course they respond with passion. I say they do not look like the Aborigonies, that I have seen on TV - and the banter continues - Great people the Aussies ...

The Norwegians, including quite possibly the tallest people I have ever seen, The lady was at least 15 cm taller than me, and her husband 30cm taller than me. Seven ladies from the very north of Norway who wave and speak everytime they pass me by. Amassing as much skin colour and Vitamin D as they can, in the time available.

The Swedish seem a little cooler, and polite, however one lady calls me by name from a fair way down the Paralia, as she passes with her son - who was fascinated by the small fish that come for breadcrumbs, that I scattered on the water. He is Now trying to catch some, but mum is not keen as she will have to take the off the hook ...

Bulgarian and French students, one young lady very taken by my English accent. Students from Brazil who were lovely, great fun and partied like only Brazilians can.

I love the Italians, who when they talk are almost singing to you, their accent is musical even in my language. The Romanians are quite reserved, seem somewhat shy and shorter in stature. The Spanish charming, one couple from Barcelona, impressed when i told them they were not from Spain, but were Catalan ...

It is a league of nations here at the moment, and very nice it is too ...

Monday, 23 May 2011

Golden Girls ...

Two ladies pop along for a chat most evenings. They are a liitle flirty and looking for a laugh and a joke. They are always immaculately dressed and there is a waft of expensive perfume. Its the laughter that lets me know they are here and i have seen them look over to see what I am up to, and detour.

I have pointed them towards a few restaurants, they pop back with feedback and tell me what they have been up to that day. This evening it was no different, but its getting harder to tell, wno is leading who astray.

Today was no exception ...

'We have tried a few beaches today, Koukounaries, Ambelakia, Banana, and the little one over the hill and down a steep track'

I looked at them, and asked them to describe the route which they did perfectly, telling me what to look for, where the path turned and twisted, the steepness of the incline.

The golden girls, who if I am honest are probably well into their seventh decade, had spent a lovely afternoon on the islands Naturist beach. Whats more they claim, not to have noticed ...

Laughing - they discussed 'at length' whether they should return there as planned today for their final day on holiday.

'Did you see that chap - Did he have clothes on?
'No - I did not have my glasses on - but I will tommorrow (Laughter)
No I am too old for all that'
'You speak for yourself' ...

I have some binoculars in my bag I said - 10x50's ...

'Never mind the size dear - I will need something to stop my hands shaking'

I have not laughed so much in such a long time, as with a twinkle in their eye, and a waft of perfume, and yet more laughter the golden girls headed off into the night ...

Friday, 20 May 2011

Oh dear ...

Not a good day to be an Olympic Holidays travel representative

The Gatwick Strategic STU2516 went technical and was delayed until Saturday morning. Now as Olympic had a spat with Monarch, they only have two aircraft, on charter. One based at Gatwick, One at Manchester.

Aircraft - being machines and a very large set of computers, are liable to break down every once in a while. So whilst the wheels do not (Usually) fall off, the wheels do fall off the holiday programe, when something needs the engineers attention.

The flight is due to depart from Skiathos at 08.45am on Saturday morning - but ETA 08.30am

Outbound passengers to Gatwick, all apart from 19 were despatched via the London Thomson 757 at 18.45pm

Those left behind were accommodated by Olympic at the Kivos Suites hotel at Megali Amos http://www.kivohotel.com/

There are going to be some unhappy tourists arrriving - hope no-one asks 'Did you have a nice flight' ...

Saturday Update: The aircraft has just landed at 08.24am


Thursday, 19 May 2011

Heavy skies ...

... Laden with rain

The clouds are down it grey and dark outside. Over towards Evia we can see rain falling from black clouds. Most of the trips have been cancelled, and money refunded, but for some reason the Poseidon has departed for Skopolos and Alonissos.

Poseidon may be the king of the seas but not of the skies, they tell a different picture. I am advised a storm is expected. Even now (11.30am) it has started raining heavily - If the guy has departed just so he gets his trip money he should have his licence withdrawn ...

15.00pm - and we have had a very wet few hours, of torrential rain. Its stopped now and the air is clear and fresh. The birds are singing again, and the swallows are shrieking overhead. Sadly no sunshine but it is a little brighter and there are still dark clouds visible over the hills.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Gone Fishing ...

I have spent the winter watching 'Uncle Michael' fishing ...

The results have not always me expectations. In fact the results have been pretty grim, even by my standards. However tonight two young lads, showed me how it was done.

From my vantage point by the Calypso, they pulled out one fish after another. It was unbelievable to see how many small fish they pulled out of the harbour. Gavros (Anchovies) Small mullet and some small red mullet too. The local cats were queuing up for a free feed, and did very well.

The secret bait that did not fail to deliver, was some minced meat from the butchers on Tries Hieraches square. I guess its the same principle as 'chum' that is used to attract sharks.

Last night someone landed a Bresca, or Monkfish. It was huge and just fitted in a black rubbish bag. I am advised that it has been made into cutlets and a lovely soup, for supper this evening ...

I however made do with a Gyros from 'No Name' and very good it was too ...

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Strangers and the "Red Mist" ...

There are some cheap holidays at the moment ...

You can fly here, allocation on arrival in a studio, for the amazing price of just £90 for seven days.

Like anywhere else this does attract a certain type of tourist ...

For example the one who goes to a posh restaurant, and demands large draught beers. The menu says beers by the 330ml bottle. So you know the score before you are seated. Advised its a restaurant not a pub, takes umbrage and disturbs diners enjoying the experience.

Last night from my vantage point, I hear a disturbance on the Paralia. Its a drunk screaming and shouting. Whats disturbing is that it was a woman in her mid years, being carried by two men to the bus stop.

Or the guy who throws a bar stool at the bar staff, at 3am. Luckily the stool did not strike the target but did some damage. The culprit gets a written warning but is allowed to stay once he has paid for the damage.

Had the bar stool struck someone, does the tour company dish out a final written warning ? No they fly another 400 in on Friday.

Never mind the price - admire the fine quality ...

Seems strange to me ...

A few stories of shopping experiences recently ...

OTE - Yesterday, when i paid my bill, and asked about the cheaper package - No there was not one - I had it. So I persisted - are you sure ? OTE keep calling me to say so ...
After five minutes a call was made to Thessaloniki. I want Phone/Internet plus the international calls programme, same as i have now.

Out came the calculator, and I am now €14 better off with OTE and have the same package. Its the one highlighted in yellow on the desk right in front of my friend at OTE. Its the one he is supposed to be selling ...

The water company - My address is wrong on the bill - "Its my fault that I live on a corner" the lady said.
So I promised to get in touch with the guy who built the house, sadly he probably passed 100 years or so ago - before there was water even connected ...

Pharmacy - (1) 'We do not have any teats for the milk bottle there is a problem at the factory' - So why did they check the shelves in the store room ?

Pharmacy - (2) 'The tablets the doctor gave you we do not have in Greece, We can give you a bigger one but bite it in half' - It was a Greek doctor who prescribed them, at the Health centre ...

Deli - I would like to buy two chairs, can i have a discount ? No we will sell you one, you can have a discount on that but not two. OK Shall i come back again tomorrow ?

Carrefour - How much is this ? Don't know it does not have a label. I would like it, sorry no label we cant sell it.

Linen - Can i buy six of those sheets ? 'No you can have four - someone else may want some' ...

Accommodation - A friend arrived and was in need of somewhere to stay. So another friend knows of a place, beautifully furnished and painted available for the season. A bargain at €250 per month. Its half way through May and our friend is prepared to pay the full month rate. However the owner wants the full six months in advance - funds he just does not have. Friend offers two months rent in lieu of notice, and proof of employment for the season.

The flat is still sitting empty and earning nothing for the owner. Our friend is at a similar property for the season paying the same monthly.

It could get better as the summer goes on ...






Monday, 16 May 2011

Utilities day ...

I had to deal with OTE who are the telephone company, and the water company today

OTE keep calling me to offer me their on-line television system. My response has been how can you offer me TV when the internet operates on a 2mb package. They charged me for an 8mb and the island only just gets a 2mb. I get just 1.3mb connection speed and it drops out frequently during the day.

Last time i was there the guy ticked the wrong box online, and it cost me €300. This he blamed on someone else, but as there are only two in the office, and one has a desk and a PC ...

The water company have sent me a bill that requires payment, Naturally its still going to the wrong address after one year of asking for it to be changed. The problem now is the meter is in adjoining street and they want the bill to go there.

I asked them if they would mind slipping the bill through the bathroom window next time they pass - as we have no door there.

My alternative is to move the postbox there, which means i will get my water bill, but nothing else.

My friends at the post office are much more reasonable. The postman if he sees me tells me i have mail at the post office so i can go and get it myself ...

I may retire to Kabourelia for rest ...

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Sunny summer Sunday ...

The sun was up the sky was blue, it seemed a good idea what to do ...

We had been out to the Oasis last night with friends, I just had a couple of beers and this morning needed a breath of fresh air.

I spent some time wandering around the Paralia, watching as it all come to life.

Palio Limani

The fisherman in the photo showed me his catch, which was two fair sized Octopus. We had a chat and he complained about the fuel cost for operating his boat.

I guess the octopus would be happy to see the fuel cost a little more. After all it was a bad day for him, tempted from his lair by a string of sardines, he just had his head bashed in ...


The fishing harbour ...


Palio Limani and Plakes ...


Nea Limani and the clock tower from the the ferry jetty ...


Awaiting Flying Cat 5 it was really silent on the end of the jetty, just the sound of a chugging fishing boat heading out towards Arko, and some nearby bees.
However to my surprise, i noticed that i could hear a twinkling of Goat Bells in the distance from the Pounta peninsular across the water.

The Bourtzi from the ferry jetty ...


Flying cat 5 arriving from Skopolos ...


Back on the Paralia, i walked past Slip Inn, where they were watering the plants, and preparing to open ...


I had been to one Oasis and here was another, Slip Inn deserve an award, its always bursting with colour. The plants are well watered, it looks amazing in the morning light.





Now is the spider drinking the water, or the nectar from these margarites ?


Our little island is bursting with colour ...

Saturday, 14 May 2011

The little shop ...

Its essential for those last minute essentials

We needed a banana for junior, so i picked up three to make it worthwhile. Add a couple of beers after all it saves lugging them across town.

However our host was engrossed in a small TV on top of a cabinet about 15 feet away. Being a big lad he was hungry, and chewing on a large piece of bread. Sesame seeds all over the counter.

Eventually they changed acts on Greece has talent. Sadly not all his fingers were available, so used the free hand not attached to the bread roll, on a calculator to add up

1 + 1 + 1.30 = €3.30

I gave him a €10 note,and he spread the change across the scales for me to pick up - Then he belched ...

The next act started and he returned to a fixed stare, at the small distant screen. I packed my own bag.

Sometimes even I do miss Sainsbury in Crystal Palace ...

Friday, 13 May 2011

Unlucky for some ...

Well it is Friday the 13th

I found myself minding my own business last night on the Paralia

Well mainly being ignored by tourists, and watching the Thomson 757 depart for Gatwick. I watched as it soared up into the sky over the harbour. The wheels fold up and disappear into the body and wings, as it turned.

This time it turned right towards the mainland and not towards Skopolos. It gave the added benefit of the sun reflecting off the aircraft, as it climbed up and away into the distance ...

Met some nice people, an Indian couple who fancied a short break, and came to Skiathos for four days. I was able to reassure them that Greece does have nice vegetarian food.

A couple from Norway who live here with friends. Some eccentric types too, like one of my island mates walking along the Paralia with a dustbin, with his wife and parents. Naturally i asked him where he stole it - just for fun ...

Then along come my learned friend, and reader of this blog - Acropolis Steve

Immaculately turned out as always, but looking somewhat cold and lost. All was explained as he revealed that his £90 holiday had resulted in a full aircraft, and him being deposited in Mosquito country in the backwoods of Kolios - rather than his beloved Acropolis studio locations.

Furthermore his budget neighbours for the week, are from the great unwashed. He assures me, one is clearly an alcoholic, with a a body odour issue. He declined their Mythos fuelled table this evening, for the bus into town, and a walk on familiar cobbles.

"Aren't you joining us"

Still ringing in his ears as he fled for the safe haven of town ...

I wonder if when he returned they were still there, if he joined them, or could recognise them after the mozzies descended after dusk.

Woe betide, If they wake him this morning early - He will be hammering on the doors of the Aleko for re-admittance after beating someone to a pulp, with the Times sports section.

I was able to reassure him that, i had now re-potted my tomatoes, and his boots were now available for a walk with Ortwin, down the Leohuni stream on Sunday ...


Thursday, 12 May 2011

Exploring ...

This morning Junior took me for a walk ...

Our daily stroll takes place each morning after we have been to the Paralia and i have had a coffee. Normally we see a boat or two come in and this gets junior excited.

This morning EKO 1 was delivering fuel so we had plenty of action on the Paralia. EKO 1 departed with four blasts of the hooter at 11.15 am to make way for the Express Skiathos which arrived 15 minutes later.

Coffee over we headed off at speed along the Paralia, past the Hotel Akti and up the slope at the rear of the harbour. Then junior turned right and up ...

I had stopped this the other day but junior was intent on exploring, so why not. Its been a while but there are a miriad of steps and alleyways to get lost in. Soon we were peering in hidden courtyards, climbing steps and terraces, inspecting pots and meeting little old ladies who responded well to Juniors greetings.

Soon we were in a patch of poppies where someones house had once stood. Looking over beautiful wisteria as the Express departed with junior waving, and a distant EKO 1 heading towards Piraeus.

Onward and upward we emerged near the final step restaurant. Another little lady sitting on the step, and some tourists below the clock tower watching the view unfold below.

Making our way down, it seems a friendly chef has relocated some lemons that i had my eye on. Past geraniums and Aloe Veras in pots, a trimmed Fig tree (Mental note: Come back in August) Lillies and yet more wisteria


We twisted down the big steps at the rear of the port cafes, only to meet around 50 Italians following a guy with a clipboard held aloft. Now I defy anyone to get lost in a conger procession in a three feet wide alley way heading up steps.

However junior enjoyed waving to them and their musical voices as they touched her head, hands and Ciao Bella etc

Back to Terra Firma and a few drips of rain hastened our progress along the Paralia and home again ...

Footnote: Acropolis Steve, weather looks good for your arrival. Port police notified to be aware of an englishman taking Pimms at Kabourelia at 6pm ...

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Census time ...

That late night knock on the door ...

Its the lady from statistics, and she wants to interrogate me about the house and its occupants.

What made it fun, was that its a neighbour, who has avoided all eye contact for years. Never a word spoken - I had a cloak of invisibility, I did not exist.

Now it seems she knows all the neighbours business - smart move getting the local neighbourhood.

How old is the house ?

I could tell "I do not know, i was not born, i only rebuilt it" clearly was not going to be the right answer ...

Actually she was charming, understood a little about me and why i was here. I think its been the old xenophobia creeping in, but she was good fun and made a tough job easy translating everything for us ...


Jeremy Clarkson - Take 2 ...

Whilst watching flying cat 5 arrive over the top of my cappuchino a "Jeremy Clarkson" double made conversation with me.

We seem to share a lot in common, however i hope i never the need for a fernet branca kick start. Its quite good fun to talk about London etc especially, when you have been lucky to escape the rat race for at least a while.

However two Brits on the next table who had steeped off a yacht were less than impressed. We were having a laugh and a chat with just about everyone, and they were in touch with their offices telling people what to do in their absence.

However Jeremy Clarkson - 'Take 2' and I both appreciate the skill required in skipping stones across water ...

Its in the English psyche it seems, He said the first all important skip is where the trajectory of impact defines the ability to skim across the water. The reason it had flown so high last night was the angle was not quite right.

I had to agree ...

I can see a skip off taking place, some time soon. It seems that the optimum angle is 20 degrees and some french guy using a machine and a water tank, achieved 38 skips according to Wikpedia ...

Monday, 9 May 2011

Skipping stones ...

Is a favourite past time ...

I developed a technique in my youth, spent on cold holidays on the Suffolk coast. There you have large waves to contend with, but pebbles like discs everywhere.

All you need is one that fits nicely in the palm, a colour of your choice, and off towards Denmark it goes ...

Here in Skiathos there is not a lot of choice, however calm conditions prevail. Ideal skipping conditions.

However the tools of the trade are not in abundant supply. There are good quality pebbles below the water line at Vromolimnos - where earlier this year i achieved the 'Holy grail' - a perfect seven.

The three of us were out for a stroll this evening, along the Paralia. Junior running and enjoying a ride on Dumbo outside the Old Port cafe. The attraction of the water, and the little beach by the Bourtzi proved too much. Mum and junior joined the other mums and kids down by the water, as i watched the fun from above.

Then i saw it ...

Two guys showing their kids how to skip stones, the kids enjoying making splashes with rocks.

I don't know how it happened ...

But i was down on the beach, a semi circular piece of white marble, in my hand. Not perfect for the task, slightly irregular and rough. But in the process of time no doubt it will be come smooth.

I caught sight as it rose after the first skip, around six feet up, the next it rose around half that again, third skip deceleration and half the height again, fourth skip, a few inches above and on the fifth it sank below the water ...

Speed, rotation, trajectory and a distance of around 50 metres, ripples marking the final point of entry near the AG Nicholas.

Probably not a good idea to score a direct hit on the Mayors freshly painted tourist boat on his birthday - The ultimate 'Xronia Polla' ...

'Wow honey you are really quite good' was all that was said. I turned and everyone on the little beach, was looking at the water where my pebble had sank.

Two men, looked back at me and the water, and left the beach with their boys - one still pointing at the harbour ripples.

I noticed some tourists and Greeks had viewed the spectacle, from above on the Paralia too.

Greece 0 England 1

Surely everyone knows Barnes Wallis invented the bouncing bomb on the same principle, and we are still the best in the world to this day ...


Sunday, 8 May 2011

Azure Blue ...

Its gorgeous here today ...

The sun is shining on an axure blue sea. There is a warm breeze and some brave children jumping into the sea from the springboard below the bourtzi.

The tourist boats are moving into position on the old harbour, and the water taxis are ready. This morning the Calypso left for its first round the island trip. To be honest there can not be a better day to be out on a boat, especially with a glass of something chilled to hand.

I was feeling pretty chilled enjoyng my cappuchino and taking in the view. Sitting on a white chair, looking out to sea behind scented geraniums.

Junior however was feeling rather grumpy and refusing to wear shoes, which meant we could not go for a walk, This made more angst, and so the downward spiral continued.

Perhaps now looking back, meant No shoes = Paddle, but as we could not get there - the beach being my destination of choice, our plans were curtailed.

I spoke to a few people i knew, majority were working and a tad grumpy. Its a lovely day I said, but the replies were mainly about the forecast which again is poor.

So on an afternoon when we should be enjoying fun in the sun, we are now back at base. Not quite what i had in mind at all ...

Someone just poured a load of asvesti down the storm drain, Naturally he managed to miss the grilles, so we have a nice white mess outside. Maybe we should do the same outside his taverna ...

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Green Fox Update from Paula ...

Morning to everyone,

Just to give you an update, we have now cleared the back log of the bottles and are collecting and baling on a daily basis. We have estimated that we have collected in the region of 120,000 bottles which is rather impressive. Anyone who is visiting our lovely Island this season, will find the recycling baskets situated around town but please try and remember to remove the tops.

We have moved forward already and you can now put aluminium cans into the bins as well. Please note these are NOT food cans but soft drinks and beer cans, I'm sure that we will get quite a few of these!!!!

We have a pretty hard task this season with collecting the recycling and would be greatful of any donations, or you can become a friend of the Green Fox Programme for 20 euro per year, where we will keep you informed of our progress.

This programme is so important to our Island, not only for residents but also for the visitors and we ask that if you can support us in anyway it would be very much appreciated.

If you are visiting Skiathos this summer and would like to see the progress we have made or become a friend please don't hesitate to contact me.

And on the last note if you see me emptying the baskets, come and say hello and give me a hand as the baskets are always really full and only being 5'2" sometimes I struggle!!!

Have a very good day and lets hope the sun shines.

Paula
http://prasinialepou.wordpress.com/

The planes ...

If you like to see where the aircraft are (like me) then click here for the interactive map.

Click on a specific aircraft for its details
Click the tab 'Planes' to search for a specific flight number that is airborne ...

For Skiathos airport arrivals details click here


Friday, 6 May 2011

English Friday ...

Thats what they call it here ...

Its a rather muted start to the season, the weather has been poor. Even today it was raining and the wind had abated overnight. Out in the street i picked up some of the broken pelargonium stems and replanted them in the balcony pots.

My learned friend in Eton, had reminded me of lazy lunches at Milos taverna. No better place for watching the aircraft land, and raising a glass to friends as they flew by.
Today though you would be dampened outside, rather than in, and probably been chilled to the bone.

I resorted to tracking the aircraft on-line, between duties at home. I heard the Thomson Manchester flight take off to the north, as the roar echoed across town.

Later the sun appeared and junior, and i headed out on to the paralia. I glanced over towards Tsougria just in time to see the Gatwick 'Strategic' undertake a sharp right turn and banking steeply towards Runway 02. Its white fuselage, and lights easy to see against the newly cleared blue sky.

We made it down on to the quay, by the torpedo - Junior jumping up and down in the buggy pointing towards the aircraft. Clearly as excited as i was.

Strategic Airbus A320 LX-STA on final to JSI-02 16.50pm passing the AG Nicholas


I know its a little fuzzy, Apologies, but you should try taking a steady picture, and hanging on to a buggy, with an excited little one bouncing up and down ...

Junior likes the boats too, Hellenic ferries flying cat 5 seems to tick all the boxes at the moment, we saw that a little later.

Strategic are an Australian airline, their two European aircraft are registered in Luxembourg, flying for a UK tour operator, that is owned by a Cypriot. Presumably someone is making some money on this venture.

Australian planes on English Friday - whatever next ...


Thursday, 5 May 2011

Winter returns ...

Its February isn't it ?

Today the weather has been foul, Its been like winter, wind rain and cold. I do feel for the poor tourists who were soaked and in light clothing.

This evening we went to the supermarket, the wind was whistling along the Paralia. Spots of rain in the wind - Dark clouds low on the hills. I was very pleased to get home.

However there was a glimmer of good fortune, we visited the fish factory near the Piscine Art Hotel. What a surprise, fresh John Dory, Sea Bass, Monkfish, Gavros, Sardines, Squid, Langoustines and Salmon ...

Two salmon cutlets made it home, not cheap but with a cream sauce, tagliatelle, and some white asparagus - They were lovely !

Come Dine with me - Skiathos - Now there is an idea ...

The rain in Skiathos ...

Started at around midnight ...

Its hammering it down to the background roll, of a distant thunder accompaniment. Water is running down the street, and swiftly down our newly cleaned storm drain.

It had been rather humid earlier this evening and it looks like the weather has broken - literally with a bang. For some bizarre reason i cannot sleep either, and am amusing myself reading Captains blog ...

I have also learned, that Leonard Nimoy, who everyone knows as Spock, the pointy eared alien in Star Trek has an interesting turn of events in his life.

'His family migrated to the US as immigrants, or aliens, and became citizens. He was born in Boston, a citizen, went to Hollywood and became an alien'

Back to reading about strange antenae - which as a child i thought were usually found on aliens heads

Your weather correspondent, on a storm lashed rock somewhere in the Aegean ...


1oam (Update)

Its still raining, some very damp and unhappy tourists in the square. It pays to pack at least one pair of long trousers and an umbrella wherever you go in the world ...

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Communication error ...

It had been one of those days ...

Vasilis had popped in for a chat, and brought me up to date with the local news.

The Laptop had been placed away and at a safe height out of reach. However i had not taken into account, the ingenious way that Junior was now planning new ways to take this blog off-line. Probably so we could spend more time down at the Amaretto on the bouncy castle ...

It seems - If you take one small childrens chair, use it to climb on to a small cupboard, then place a backgammon board and box, add a chess set box and stand on it - anything is now in reach on the lower shelf of the wall cupboard.

When i returned, a few minutes later, Junior had made a technical adjustment to the laptop ...

This is why i am now looking at white spaces, where some of the keys used to be. Efforts to repair the keyboard have defeated the local repair shop appropriately named 'Mouse'

I am now exploring returning the laptop to the UK, and re-acquainting myself with a smoky internet cafe ...



Tuesday, 3 May 2011

What a difference a plane makes ...

Today it was the turn of the Brits ...

The first Thomson holidaymakers were about 40 minutres from landing, and we were having a Thunderstorm. They were close to getting a free bumpy excursion around the Sporades thunderclouds, and closer still to getting another excursion down to Athens.

However the clouds parted and the Blue Boeing 757 gently descended over the harbour. An hour later it soared into the sky with a roar from the Rolls Royce turbofans, as it banked towards Skopolos. A few minutes later a Transavia Boeing 737 flew out, probably after crew training as their day here on the rock is Monday.

The pilots are clearly having fun powering out as they return empty to the UK and Amsterdam. So was I watching them ...

Papadamatis street was busy, the shops were open again. Postcards circa 1975 somewhat faded and dated by the ageing boats and caiques in evidence, have made their annual return to the daylight in faded glory and hope of a purchase.

'Tattooed tourists' were soon dining on bacon fry ups at Nikos cafe after their early start, and frowning at our Greek friends who were enjoying a noisy banter. The Greeks watching the strangers pass, were frowning back at the british obsession for body art, and football shirts.

Our tribe are so different from the smartly dressed Dutch, who seem so orderly in appearance and the way they conduct themselves. But of course there are always some who do not conform in all walks of life.

I enjoyed my first bacon roll of the year, and a beer, and a chat whilst junior tried to work out how to break the new milk bottle i had bought. Today the pharmacist said there were no teats, as there was a problem at the factory. I think the problem is somewhere nearer to home and cashflow and saving on orders.

Its been warm and a little humid today, lets see what tomorrow brings ...

New beginings ...

... for old businesses

Here on Skiathos, one of the favourite past times is watching what your neighbour is up to. If its a business then they do the same.

This year the meal for two offer arrived last night at the same €20 price as last year, this probably means it will go up on 1st July to €25 -same as last year too. The food will be the same it will just be charged more to make profit. Everyone will follow suit and have empty tables again.

As i said last year - Someone do it for €15 and you will be swamped with customers, but that is not the Greek way ...

If someone opens a business - example snack shop, and it does well. You can guarantee next door next year will be another hoping to take the profits from the other.

This year another coffee shop has opened on the Paralia, to join all the others. Its owned by a guy who was a waiter so he knows what he is doing.

Someone has bought the Old Port cafe and posted a glowing review (i wonder who?) on Tripadviser that it is the best in town. Just how can you make a 'Nes' better and be the best in town, within one month?

Competition for your Cappachino contract is warming up ...

Presumably over the winter someone heard the old Calypso restaurant was going to become a bakery. It plans to have chairs outside for you to enjoy a coffee with a piece of cake or a pastry.

It is also next to one of the best coffee shops on the island.

Now i learn the old newsagents is to be a bakery, It plans to have chairs outside for you to enjoy a piece of cake with a pastry and of course a coffee.

We already have seven bakeries in town just how much bread and cakes can the island consume i wonder ...

Monday, 2 May 2011

Vangelis ...

Roseszzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ...

Vangelis is back, With the last working Polaroid camera in the free world ...


I snapped him on his first early season walk around town.
He was impressed with my camera and offered me an apprenticeship, I start when i am 65 ...


How nice to see you ...

One of the readers of 'The Skiathian' was here on the island ...

Margaret - Our friend from San Francisco, was here on a flying visit. Its not everyday someone pops in to see you, after flying half way round the world.

One hour later and we were all in Taverna Alexandros enjoying a catch up. Junior clearly enjoying the Thomas pop up book that Margaret had brought as a Birthday present.

We had a nod and a polite hello from Mr Plomaritis - The mayor as he passed by. (Obviously not had time to read my recent blog yet then ?)

It was great to get some feedback on 'The Skiathian' as news seems to be spreading of our little rolling diary. We chatted about recent events, both here on the rock, and far afield. Friends near and far away, and some things that make me really annoyed to hear ...

Michaelis did us proud, tsatziki, aubergine dip, a chicken special, soft lamb in a lemon sauce, and veal in a red sauce. Oregano infused potatoes were to die for ...

We were visited by one of the 'Newly' Deaf Dumb and 'Think we are stupid' - Yes we really want the pistol shaped cigarette lighter, and glowing lamp that he placed in front of junior. Who looking up from Thomas, was checking out the range for a direct hit with a spoon full of tsatsiki.

So after a lovely meal, had been put to bed. It was all too soon a time to say goodbye for now, as our lovely jet lagged Margaret, headed off to a well earned rest at the Meltemi ...


They are back ...

Swooping in low over the harbour, the first jet arrived at 10.08am from Amsterdam.

It departed at 10.48am out over the harbour, with the roar of turbofan engines, rattling the glasses on the tables. Flying back empty the Captain let all Skiathos know - Summer was here as he climbed out on full power, and turned left towards Skopolos, and then back north ...

The breeze has turned south, its sunny and warm for the new arrivals. Very soon 'Strangers' were heading for the Paralia and a well earned coffee in the sun ...


Sunday, 1 May 2011

The night before ...

It starts all over again

At 10am the roar of the turbofan jet engine over the harbour, will return. Tourism returns to our Green Island. The first flight is from Amsterdam and signals the start of the new season.

Like lions circling their prey on the savannah, taverna owners, bar owners, shops and businesses await the tourist and their hard earned cash, with eager anticipation.

The next five months signal long hours and hard work, as our island in the sun changes beyond all recognition.

Later this week the regular bus service will start again, The big bus has been out on the road completing the last of the winter five daily trips. The water taxis are freshly painted and ready. Car ferries are now calling twice a day and large numbers of cars are driving down the ramp. Even on these still cool days tourists are walking around wearing shorts.

One Russian lady asked if we knew of a taverna, that could accommodate 65 covers for her wedding. She was a very popular lady as word spread along the Paralia ...

Today it is May day, bouquets of flowers are garlanded on doors. The sunshine dried the wet streets to reveal a fine layer of Sahara dust on cars and windows, as the winds have turned to the south bringing a warm breeze.

Oh to be in Skiathos now that summer is here once again ...