Sunday, 26 June 2011

Dear Mayor ...

There is a big problem with flyers and posters

The clubs have now opened and they are covering every available space on Bus stops, lamp posts and noticeboards with posters and flyers.
Not everyone wants to see posters of the playboy bunnies or miss topless DJ.

Naturally the clubs do not remove the old posters and just cover them up with a new one. It does not look good and creates the wrong impression.


Last night one of the posters peeled off a lamp post in the high winds we are currently experiencing and flew past the horse carriages - spooking the horses. Had it not been for the quick actions of the driver we would have had a horse bolting on the paralia.

If the council wants to smarten up the town, then this rubbish needs to be removed daily, by the street cleaners and consigned to the bin, where most of the flyers end up.


You know it makes sense - thanks for reading

Kind regards


I will let you know if I get a reply ... 

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Customer service - Take 3 ...

To the Managing Director
Lindam UK
Sent: 23 June 2011 12:42

Dear Sir

I thought you might be interested in a dialogue that i have had with your careline team.

I have a safety issue with one of your gates, and am seeking a replacement part. It seems that you are unable to post this to me here in Greece. I have explained that I bought the unit in Mothercare in Croydon. I exported that gate, and the baby to Greece. I have offered to pay for the part but have had an indifferent response - both from Mothercare, and Lindam.


Here in Greece you need a paper for this a stamp for that - I think the word
'bureacracy' was invented here, but news has spread. It seems many companies do not like to post things to Greece, even if you offer to pay the bill. 

You know we are customers wherever we are,
and from a company who claim to be 'Europe's leading child home safety brand.  Lindam is the leading supplier of child safety lines in the UK and offers the broadest range of safety solutions globally'

This despite the lack of a 'Global' solution to the additional stamps required for a customer in need ...

Kind regards

Sometimes you have to push a few buttons to get things done ...

On 23 June 2011 13:06, Sheila Robson wrote:
 
Dear Sir

I have been asked to look into your email received today. I am sorry if you have been inconvenienced while waiting for a spare part. My colleague arranged for a lower hinge bar to be posted to the UK address on 21.6.11.

In addition, I will post you the part required to your address in Greece

Sheila Robson
Customer Service Manager

Customer service - Take 2 ...

Not to be defeated, I have consulted the manual ... 

I know - 'Male and consulting the manual' but its 'Situation desperate' and it seems the safety gate is manufactured for Mothercare by Lindam
who claim to be 'Europe's leading child home safety brand.  Lindam is the leading supplier of child safety lines in the UK and offers the broadest range of safety solutions globally'

I sent an e-mail to their careline e-mail address ... 


============
Hello

I hope you can help, I have a
Safety Gates - Extending Wooden Safety Gate
CODE: 0444339
Unfortunately we have broken the bottom hinge and need to obtain a replacement part
Please advise me if you can supply me with another one/set and the cost for this.
I live in Greece, but purchased the unit from Mothercare. (Online - Customer service) asked me to go to my local store and order a replacement part ...
Kind Regards
============
Lindam -
Unfortunately we do not supply outside the UK – you will have to contact Mothercare to exchange the gate for you.
Regards
============
Hello again

I do not want to replace the gate - I just need a replacement bottom hinge
Mothercare were useless ...
Can you assist ?

Thank you
============
We are unable to supply outside the UK – you will have to go back to Mothercare as they shipped overseas to you.
Regards
============
I bought it in the UK and shipped it myself along with the baby !!!

Can you supply the replacement part even if its to an address in the UK ?
============
Lindam -
Yes we can supply the hinge to a UK address – please confirm if it is the lower hinge or the lower hinge bar that needs replacing.
Regards
============
It is the lower unit that screws into the wooden gate.

It is metal threaded with a nut, with a plastic hinge on the end that sits in the part that fits to the wall.
The bottom part of the plastic unit has sheared off, it has a lug that holds it in place
============
Lindam -
Yes it’s the lower hinge bar – let me have a UK address and I will send it out today.
Regards
============ 

Here in Greece you need a paper for this a stamp for that - I think the word
'bureacracy' was invented here, but news has spread. It seems many companies do not like to post things to Greece, even if you offer to pay the bill. 

You know we are customers wherever we are, and this despite the lack of a 'Global' solution to the additional stamps required ...

Customer service - Take 1 ...

It seems to be my week dealing with 'automatons' ...

I need a spare part for a safety gate, its essential, So I contacted Mothercare, who sold it to me.

I explained that I now lived in Greece but had purchased the gate in Croydon London. Could they assist me with obtaining a spare part ?

'Please go to your local store and return the gate for a refund, or order a spare part at the customer service desk'

As I said earlier, I just need a replacement part, I now live in Greece - Can you help?

'We do not supply goods to Europe area 2 - Please go to your local store and return the gate for a refund, or order a spare part at the customer service desk'

So i just hop on a plane to London to order a part then ...

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Camera woes ...

Some have noticed a lack of photos lately ...


The Canon 500D has decided to play up, despite best efforts it appears to think that the SD card is write protected. Having checked the internet forums for a solution, I was left with no option than to contact Canon Support ...

Only its not a very user friendly site, and you are not allowed to speak to a human. So eventually I found the contact Canon link, and sent them an e-mail (Only option permitted) and said ...

Hello
I am having problems with My Canon 500D, It is indicating that the SD card is write protected, when it is not. I have tried a new card in the camera, and this does not work. I have tried my SD cards in another Canon camera and they work fine. It appears there is a proble with the card reader - any suggestions ?
Regards ...

Two days later I receive an e-mail answer from Canon UK ...

Thank you for contacting Canon UK Support.

We are sorry to learn that you are experiencing this problem with your EOS 500D.

Please try the following:

1. Reset the camera to it's default setting - see page 136 of the user guide. Here is a link to the user guide for you to download.

2. If the problem is not resolved then please check your firmware version.
Upgrading your firmware can correct problems in the cameras system as well as known issues.
The latest firmware upgrade is available from this link. Please select your EOS DSLR from the list.
Even if you have the latest version of the firmware it can be beneficial to upgrade with the same version as the camera will be reset & any corruption in the camera's system will be corrected.

If the problem remains unresolved then we would recommend that your product is checked by one of our expert technicians at a Canon Authorised Service Facility. Here are the contact details:


So i did as suggested by Canon ...

1. Reset the camera to it's default setting - see page 136 of the user guide. Here is a link to the user guide for you to download.

It did not work - on to step 2

2. If the problem is not resolved then please check your firmware version.
Upgrading your firmware can correct problems in the cameras system as well as known issues.
The latest firmware upgrade is available from this link. Please select your EOS DSLR from the list.
Even if you have the latest version of the firmware it can be beneficial to upgrade with the same version as the camera will be reset & any corruption in the camera's system will be corrected.


I Followed the instructions to the letter, eventually  selected EOS DSLR for the correct firmware version,  downloaded the software ...

Then it asked me to format the SD card on the camera, add the software and install it from the card.

Only the SD Card reader is not working - the reason for the fault, so impossible for the camera will be reset & any corruption in the camera's system will be corrected.

So I decide to give Canon some appropriate feedback - On their support options ...
Hello

Sorry but option 2 is impossible to try - as the download has to be on a formatted SD Card
As the card reader does not work - It cannot read the card or accept the firwear update  ...

Regards


Then back comes ...


Dear Customer,
This is a standard reply confirming that we cannot respond to your email query. PLEASE USE THE LINK WHICH WAS PROVIDED IN THE E-MAIL YOU RECEIVED FROM Canonsupport@teleperformance.de.
Therefore can we kindly request you to use the following link: http://self-service.canon-europe.com/
Yours sincerely,
Canon Support Centre
www.support.canon-europe.com


Notice the terse tone to the message and the block capitals, Canon are shouting at me. Thats tells me does'nt it. So never argue with a computer generated system of support, It seems HAL 9000 from 2001 is now a reality and working in Germany - which as we all know runs Europe ...


Sunday, 19 June 2011

Happy Fathers day ...

To all the Fathers out there ..

And my own pictured back in wartime, and now sadly departed, but not forgotten ...


It seems my girls have forgotten again, despite me drinking my coffee this morning, from my 'Daddy I love you' mug - A fathers day gift two years ago from my daughter - Quite amazing really as she was just a few months old ...

Have a great day all the dads out there wherever you are ...

How to park a hire car ...

  1. Lady gets into a hire car (Jimmy) this morning, and is shown where everything is by the owner
  2. She moves the car and drives into parking space, taking out an 18 inch high traffic bollard.
  3. Drives back over the bollard wedging it under the wheels and scraping it along the road.  
  4. Gets out and looks around, and at the plastic tape, that leads from another bollard down the street and under the rear of the car. 
  5. Gets back in and straightens the car up then looks at me. 
  6. I point out the bollard now wedged midway under the Jimmy.
  7. She shrugs shoulders in local fashion. 
  8. Then drives off, followed by plastic tape and one attached bollard. 
  9. The trapped bollard releases itself from rear of car and springs out with an audible clunk. 
  10. The Jimmy is then reversed back into the space, taking the tape and one bollard with it - tape now wrapped round the wheels.
  11. In doing so runs over the first bollard again.
  12. Succesfully parked, the lady heads off towards Papadamatis street ...

The horse and carriage man will return again tonight, to find his area that was neatly cordoned off in ruins, and motorcycles parked where the horses should be ...

Friday, 17 June 2011

Answer the phone ...

I live opposite two old ladies ...

They sometimes have trouble hearing what you say.
They sit by the telephone, and are knitting or embroidering, most of the time.

Someone is calling them on the phone - Its an old fashioned RRRRRRRIIIIIIINNNNNNGGGGG phone probably from the early 1950's. Whoever it is, is on the third attempt to contact them. It has been ringing for five minutes now.

They are sitting right next to it, I just looked in the window through the grilles and pointed at the phone. They waved back and said Kalee Mera ...

I am now back across the street, upstairs and its now ringing for the fourth - sorry fifth time ...

Life is paced a little slower here on the rock ...

Walking with Ortwin - 18th / 19th June ...

A message from Ortwin ...

Hi walkingfriends,

On Saturday, 18.06. 10.45 o clock we have a walking from the busstop no. 5 to the Monastery Kechria - Magic forest - Achila stream and back to Skiathos. Picknick we'll have in the beach tavern of Kechria.
The route has duration 5,5 hours. We are 60 persons with wanderers from Euböa, where we have been inspringtime and wanderers from Pelion.

On Sunday, 19.06. 7.30 o clock we start from the busstop no. 2 up to the highest point of the island, the Mitikas and further to Kastro, where we have picknick in the tavern. We'll return to Skiathos by boat, the price for the boat is 8 € per person. The walking has duration 4,5 hours.If you want to come, call me by 6972 705416.


With kind regards


Ortwin

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Heat ...

The island has returned to Hot and Sunny weather ...

The weather pattern has remained strange, but now it seems we are in for a heatwave. Today was warm and sunny after a slightly cloudy start. But now we are changing the batteries on the aircon remotes and getting ready for summer.

The Nel lines Alkyoni docked on its way back to Volos, the spray from the jets turning the water almost white with foam, as the air from the turbines, was blasted through the water in the harbour .

The Paralia has been busy again after last weekends activities that sent tourists into hiding. Tonight we had an amazing moonrise over the Pounta and magical reflections on the sea.

I am touched how many strangers pop back to say how much they enjoyed their trip, and say thanks for the advice I have given.

Tonight the boys at Alexandros are in good voice as they serenade tourists, many of whom are on their last night before journeying home - Kalo Taxedi one and all ...


Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Eclipse ...

Tonight the full moon rose and slowly emerged with a moonburst, through watery cloud ...

Then it darkened as the shadow of planet Earth crossed its surface, and was tinted red before the cloud cover interfered with our view.

The moon was a blue tinged colour as the eclipse became total. I can understand why, watching from the Paralia in ancient times people would hide away thinking doom would befall them.

I felt the same way and headed home, and a nightcap at Taverna Alexandros. Where a drunken Brit lady told everyone loudly, she had 'Twittered' Taverna Alexandros, with a 'twitpick' and it was now famous.

"All her friends wanted to know where it was" she said

We felt like telling the "Twit" with the "Twitter" that it already was ...

Early morning alarm call ...

There is nothing like a thunderstorm to wake you up ..

Boom and I am up, removing plugs, closing shutters and securing the balcony. Downstairs closing shutters and returning upstairs damp and am told ...

... why did you wake me up !

Its crashing and banging outside, rain hammering on the roof, and for some reason, I am the one at fault

Three hours later and tourists are asking are we still going ? 17 Serbians cancelled not convinced.

The skies to the east said warm and sunny. The skies to the west had towering cumulonimbus and thunder caps over the mainland that climbed and dissipaited before your eyes.

The boat went "The other way round" and they had a lovely day. The skies cleared and there were very happy faces on the return to the berth this evening ...

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Special Olympics 2011 ...

Skiathos is host town for the visiting GB team at the Special Olympics in Athens ...

Tonight we were treated to a welcome ceremony, that included the Olympic anthem, ladies in Athenian dress, speeches of welcome and the return of the Olympic flame to Skiathos. The previous occasion being in 2004.

Sadly the Olympic rings where the flame was carried have been left to wear away like the memories of the games. However the flame burned brightly again here on Skiathios this evening.

The GB athletes are being escorted by volunteers, and were given a motorcycle and car police escort from the Paralia to their hotel. Nice to see the police back out again doing something useful ...

Monday, 13 June 2011

Winds of change ...

Its been a fun weekend ...

Around 3500 bikers here for a festival, life has been disrupted and sleep patterns disturbed. There has been real fun and games on the Paralia every evening. There have been daft things, dangerous stunts and outrageous behavior.

However the island can breathe a long sigh of relief - they are leaving this morning ...

The boys and girls on bikes are on their way. Todays free entertainment is watching around 1000+ leatherclad motorbikers roasting in the sun, on 'sun mark 6' on the fastcat dock - Then trying to board the ferry with engines revving, whilst around the same number of passengers and bags were waiting too, who were boarded first.

There is a big difference between the club bikers and the guys tearing up the strip. The 'Black widows' were taking their frappe in Ariston this morning very sedately - No sign of Clyde, Clint or the Police amywhere


The Nel Alkiyoni called first, then the Express Skiathos which must be going back to Volos, as they are all boarding. Express Pegasus was 'Hove too' in the bay waiting to dock.

Its very windy this morning. life in the port is 'Interesting" The boat was despatched this morning in very breezy conditions - heading south - not north round the island due to the blustery conditions.

I helped a blushing bride and her father, onto Columbus, ensuring she did not take a dip - Lovely dress - whoever you were ...

Friday, 10 June 2011

Burning rubber ...

Another couple of hundred motorbikes rolled off the Express Skiathos this morning. 

Getting rather crazy - some of the stunts on the Paralia, and a few who like to do Grand Prix starts from the ferry gates along the road.

Not a policeman in sight anywhere, to watch the guys pulling wheelies from the Alpha bank past the taxi rank, as they ride out.


Some of them were in the fish harbour last night, revving engines until they backfire like a gun shot, until past midnight. Some more rode through the lanes at the back of Marias, and had a welcome slap from a shopkeeper with a broom, as they passed by ...

Strong Meltemi winds today, making town like standing next to a hairdryer. Its the type of day where you walk down the street hiding in the shady spots - trying not to venture out into the sunlight and heat.

Storms are forecast for Saturday night it seems - that should dampen things down at the camp site at Asselinos where the Mortorbike rally is taking place ...

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Lean Mean driving machines ...

Motorcycle meeting on Skiathos 

From the 9th to 13th of June, the 30th annual meeting of the Greek Motorcycle Association is taking place here on Skiathos.


There are some very interesting Motorcycles here at the moment, Some guys who look like the "Black widows" that pass by a couple of times a day on the Paralia complete with flags and bunting.

Some big BMW types came off the ferry yesterday. Treated us to some serious engine revving on the Paralia. Before heading off sedately out of town - Last night some rode in and treated the holidaymakers to a look at, and the sound of their machines.

This morning, around 200 bikers, all shapes and sizes, some serious equipment and one crash helmet wearing bulldog riding pillion on a large cc petrol tank - unloaded from the Express Pegasus and Express Skiathos.

The ring road was like the Isle of Man TT, naturally apart from the dog, only the policeman was wearing a crash helmet.

Great sound from the engines - reather like Silverstone
in a Grand Prix

Airport - Modernisation ...

Green light for the modernisation of the airport of Skiathos
07/06/2011

Yesterday, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, Charis Tsiokas, gave the green light for the modernization of the Alexandros Papadiamantis Airport. The contruction project, with a contract value of €19,689,943.89, should be completed in 75 months. 


So in six years the airport will finally be modernised - why do i think it is too late ....

Ferry Good News ...

From June 9th onwards the Hellenic Seaways ferry Express Pegasus will be running a daily service from Agios Konstantinos in competition with the NEL Lines ferry Panagia Parou.
On return from Alonissos it will call at Agondas on Skopolos

From July 9th the NEL Lines highspeed ferry Alkioni will be running a Saturday service between Skopelos and Thessaloniki via Skiathos.

According to Openseas.gr the Skyros Shipping Co. ferry Achilleas will start its summer run between Skyros-Kimi-Alonissos-Skopelos on 18th June.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Talks of Walks ...

Tonight I chatted with Vasilis Koralis 

Vasilis is a great friend, we often talk about the island and the history. He takes walking tours out twice a week around the town, and a Nature walk to discover the flora and fauna.

We chatted whilst sitting by the harbour watching the tourists and Greek friends and neighbours who passed by pausing for a chat. 

Eleanour, Malcolm and Rosemary paused for a while, as they took the evening air. Swallows passing very close overhead as we spoke. In one case between Vasils and I as we were seated by the water.

Vasilis is the renown author of the well known guidebook 'The Walks of Skiathos Island'...


 

Written by Vasilis Korallis, a Greek-American who now lives permanently in Skiathos, this book will appeal to walkers and non-walkers alike as it contains lots of interesting information about Skiathos in general such as beaches, shops, nature, flora, fauna, history and art.

Consisting of a series of 18 walks ranging from simple, quick walks to more involved, longer walks

The book is a must for anyone who has visited or intends to visit the beautiful island of Skiathos and, like most of its visitors, has fallen in love with the place.

The 60 page book includes full colour photographs and reproduction prints by local artists.(http://www.skiathosinfo.com/walks.htm)


Sadly the book itself is out of print, but is available for download at just 8 euro from Skiathos Direct 

Reviews of the Book can be found here

If you are here this summer, spend some time walking with Vasilis and learn about the real Skiathos, from a true Skiathian ...


Saturday, 4 June 2011

Wheels up ...

It is Scandinavian change over day

We had an aborted landing this morning down at the airport

I was talking to a customer, on the Paralia, when I heard the aircraft approach and the engine note change. I looked over (I often do - love watching the aircraft land and take off) and just caught sight of the nose start to lift as he pulled out of the approach.

It seemed that one of the Scandinavian SAS 737's was a little high, and turned away putting the wheels up over the Pounta as he went.

Nice view of him climbing out over Skopolos, to go around and do it again.

Five minutes later he was back for a textbook approach and landing ...

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Lemon scented ...

Fragrant hands scented with the oil of freshly picked lemons

For what will probably be the last time this summer, I visited my favourite lemon trees this morning.

With the aid of my painting pole, and a paint damaged roller, I was able to harvest the top of the tree. There are still a few left but someone else, will enjoy them. Some of the trees are already fruiting with the next crop. Others are in flower, I will leave them in peace to produce a bumper harvest - hopefully just for me.

Porto Paradiso looked stunning this morning. The sea like a sheet of glass, brilliant light and just a few sun loungers - just the way it should be. Great reflections on the lake too, and just me and another solitary tourist enjoying the view at 7am

Kurt Russell & Goldie Hawn are here and were enjoying Tsougria, on their annual vacation to the island. Its great to see them mixing with the tourists, and enjoying our little island every year.

Leave you with the thoughts of the sound of the swallows screaching overhead here in town, and freshly picked fragrant lemons ...

PS - To my learned friend - you are expected, your table is booked as requested ...