Friday, 31 August 2012

Just my luck ...

Lets spend the time together she said, a nice lunch - a glass of wine ...



I must admit the offer was tempting, only SWMBO gave Junior everything she wanted on the way there. Result Junior not interested in lunch, and me sitting with my head at 180 degrees, whilst Junior enjoyed quality time, along with me chasing around, from time to time trying to restore order. 

I just finished the glass of wine, sat back and relaxed. Then Junior appears soaked to the skin, SWMBO too wide eyed at what has happened. 

Junior has removed the head from the irrigation system, there is a very large fountain where the garden used to be, and people running for cover, in all directions - as did we down the street ...

Delays ...

At the airport, the Lithuanians from Gatwick were two hours late, the Monarch from Manchester finally made it, although for a long time it looked like it was not coming at all.

The Express Skiathos ferry chipped in, running two hours late from Volos.

So who are  we going to blame .....


Good morning ...

To my fellow blogger down in Sifnos, with whom I share a similar taste for newspapers and wine.

That mention of Panini and a slightly chilled Montepulciano d'Abruzzo. It had me thinking of cured hams, strong cheese, and sepia sunsets viewed through the bottom of a glass.

In fact my last cheese delivery of the summer has arrived, and is destined for an 'Evening with Rapsani' ...

The covers still remain off - but for how long ? The signs are there, its cooling down at last.

There is even rain on some of the 10 day weather forecasts. Its screaming September everywhere, in fact as summer slips into autumn, if you look at the clock, its just a few hours away ...

You can catch up with the Sifnos news here ...

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Bad moon rising ...

You mention the word 'storm' and people get very upset ...

Oh no, get it over with, it must not rain when we are there, you just need a shower etc We have had one decent rain in eleven weeks. The island is a parched dustbowl, and in long overdue need of a steady drenching.

Sadly sooner or later this lovely weather is going to break. Already the air is cooler, and the month of September, which often has hosted those fantastic Sporades storms, is just a few days away.

Tonight is the start of the famous 'Blue Moon' its not actually blue but rises full for the second time in a calendar month. It is a time for wild parties, and photo-shopped  images of the moon rising from an impossible angle over the Parthenon in Athens.

Its also is said to affect peoples mood, amongst many other things. Whether you believe it of not the Police forces call it their dark night.

... It's one of the most enduring myths in human history, embedded in popular culture and folklore from Transylvania and the myth of the werewolf to Creedence Clearwater Revival's breakaway 1969 hit, "Bad Moon Rising." The word "lunacy" has its roots in the Latin word for moon.

We had a windstorm, these last few days. (Storm = Panic) Of such intensity that it sent the rubbish flying, dust eddies like mini twisters, and grounded the fishing and tourist boat fleet for two days. But still there was clear skies, and sunshine. Tourists that braved the southern beaches were rewarded with few neighbours, and stunning clear air views across to Evia.

It has done some serious damage to friends olive trees, both here and over on Skopelos. Being an Olive year across most of the island, those trees that were laiden with fruit, are now stripped of much of their harvest.

A year when there has been little rain, meant there was little strength, within the tree to retain the fruit. Fruit that is now rotting on the floor - not pressed or preserved for winter foods, that remind you of summer days that have long since passed.

It will be a low yield harvest for many - unlike two years ago when much of the island, delivered a bumper crop, both in yield and quality to the olive press. However, I am blessed with long arms, and do know where to look for mine, although only for the jar later this year

We know who to blame, for what has happened, just look up later tonight for the culprit, as he rises over the Pounta - 98% full now and the big night tomorrow ...


Tuesday, 28 August 2012

That was a blast ...

as friends from the US would say ...

Force seven winds battered the island from lunchtime, and overnight. white water and screaming yacht rigging on the new harbour. Any unsecured shutters will have been banging away if they are not off their hinges by now ...

The air has cooled, and i woke today with a shiver, now will it return to inferno heat, or is this now the time that i now need to cover myself with a sheet at night.

Autumn is extending its fingers south towards the island, as the sunrise now makes its trajectory southwards over Skopelos in a similar direction, just a little further every day. The leaves are crisp on the trees, both from the extreme summer heat and knowing, that they have done their job for the year.

The sun is out and clear blue skies above, but still blowing a six now, so no boat trips today it would seem ...


Monday, 27 August 2012

Silent surfers ...

Sorry am still working on the book ....


What do you mean you did not know ?

Someone let the cat out of the bag - Sorry (Cat societies) Monkey out of the drawer, over canapes at the concert the other night.

I have the plot, just need to think about the names and Biography/Novel unless I want to end up swimming off Evia.

If it makes it to the silver screen, I aim to cast Richard Gere, Penelope Cruz and Julia Roberts for the film version, with a planned 'walk by' part for Tom Cruise, at the request of the old ladies of Kapadistrou. 

Penelope would still look good, running up the Seven steps of Rock and Roll, where Meryl failed at the church over the water ...

Tom Hanks as director, I like the Castaway, Apollo 13 lost in cyberspace link, and he has good contacts for couriers if required.

My mates down the harbour can rest assured, there will be lots of boat scenes, their future is more certain.

Vasilis has been in touch despite his legendary technical issues with his PC, via his Holywood agent and wants to do the musical score, but despite his noble contacts - I understand we can get Val Doonican cheaper if required.

Something loud and jingly, like the Dambusters theme, performed by the Skiathos band is my prefered choice. They really are very good and sadly missed at the moment. Keep practicing together ladies and gentlemen - full time employment awaits you at a host of premiers worldwide.

Watch this space as they say in literary terms, or scramble your electrons if you are a kindle reader (Other e-reader systems are available) ...

Extreme Fire Danger ...

Reported by skopelosnews

Civil Protection authorities have issued and Extreme Fire Risk warning to several areas in Greece including Magnesias and the Sporades. This is the highest alert level and they urge public caution and vigilance. The weather remains hot and the north wind will pick up later today and become quite strong overnight which creates a potentially dangerous situation. The national fire "hot" line is 199.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Where is it ?

Went for a ride on a train yesterday ...

We have yet to find one Greek train that runs on time - Where is it ? {But for what we paid - €22 return total and its 1.5 hours each way - who cares - We can wait.} Lovely station restaurant just a few steps away if required ...


When the train came in it left almost straight away. We were sitting behind the drivers compartment where the driver and guard were enjoying a chat with their mates on the train to train/signaller radio.

Quite interesting to hear the signaller ask 'Yorgos where are you' ? Approaching/just left etc ...

After about five minutes of the journey, there was a polite knock, on the door from up front - on the door next to us. Then again harder, then rather insistent.

We (passengers) were all laughing so SWMBO opened the door. Out came the very large guard, thanking us profusely, as the handle was broken, and he had forgotten to secure the door open with the rock (No joke) and the door had shut as we trundled off down the track, and a rather steep gradient.

Then another couple of thumps on the door from the driver, reminding his friend what he had to do next

So he kicked the 'rock wedge' under the door, and secured open went to check the tickets.

"Only in Greece" ...

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Look up at the moon tonight ...

The man who i watched in awe, as he walked on the moon, when i was a child, has passed away - RIP Neil Armstrong ...

Perhaps he is looking back at us all, once again


Click this link ...




Friday, 24 August 2012

The Greeks invented the word for that ...

Bureaucracy

I always get impressed when the official stamps come out. I know this is an important time, and stamps mean authority and power. I open my eyes wide in awe, and nod appreciatively. This is not the time to argue or upset your official - Its the moment of truth as you look across the desk or counter ...

Desk drawers will be opened and closed, whilst the dried out, and 'concave from the ravages of time' ink pad is sought, papers shuffled and arranged, and a hearty thwack (Below Richter 2.0 is not monitored - or deemed worthy by the Athens seismology institute) as the seal of officialdom is delivered to your piece or pieces of paper.

Note: If the paper is stapled, the jointed edges across the staples will also be stamped, just in case you remove the staple. Further photocopies of the paper must show the join and official stamp exactly - or you start the process again

So when you get to an office, first count the assembled amount of stamps, hanging waiting to be used by an official - the highest number is the person you probably want to speak to. Be warned some officials hide their new self inking stamps in their desk to avoid being disturbed whilst they monitor their Facebook notifications on screen.

So stamps to a document - thirteen is the current record, that is different seals of authority, in varying colours an shades of tone - Not delivery to the form (23) but seven on an illegible printed form (toner expired and long past change date) for an x-ray recently was pretty impressive ...

Thursday, 23 August 2012

23rd August 1944

23-08-1944 

Is a date steeped in island history the date that German armed forces shelled, and burned the island and of much of the town in reprisal for resistance activities. They also executed seven young men in reprisal for the resistance, who had captured the officer who was Head of the Sporades German forces.

Betsy Barnard in the 'Skiathos Calendar' describes what happened ...

The Greek resistance on the island captured a German caique lying in the inner harbour and took a German officer prisoner. Reprisal was inevitable. The Germans returned and shelled the town and set fire to it. In all 30 houses were burnt down and another 177 were either burnt or damaged. The bay at Koukounaries was also burned as a reprisal. 

The locals fled to the hills and prayed to a saint for help in their time of need, and a great storm ensued which helped extinguish the fires, and the German forces departed for Volos


In the Town hall, there is a framed letter of thanks from general Freyburg to the people of Skiathos, who suffered the burning of their town in August 1944 as well as Koukounaries bay, in reprisal for their resistance activity. 

Todays message from Evangelistra remembers these times ...

Who can forget the brutality of Germans, something has changed since then?

How sweeping miraculous intervention of Virgin Mary of Eikonistrias saving the island and its inhabitants from the organized slaughter?

Let us not forget and let us all hail to the glory of our island, Oh Eikonistria!!! 

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

The Greeks invented that ...

The little clip the cab driver keeps, to stop the seatbelt alarm going off ...


Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Heatwave returns ...


Anyone heading down in the next few days (or already here) five days of heatwave forecast from Thursday. Temperatures around 39/40 degrees once again  ...

Five-day heatwave forecast from Thursday. July and June hottest months in Athens since 1897 (Athens News) http://www.athensnews.gr/portal/13/57762

Did you know ?


... that on the small islets of Maragos and the small Tsougria once there grew pine trees. Later on they were eaten by the goats and sheep.

Skiathos Facebook page is asking - Who would like to organize the replanting of these pine trees this October?





Monday, 20 August 2012

This morning's visit to the market ...

results in these beauties, on the menu for tonight ...


It just had to be one ...

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Chaos on Chios ...

Thoughts are with the Greek people on Chios once again today ...



Greek TV reports that the smoke can be seen from the island of Crete, over 60 miles south of Chios. They also are showing Satellite photos to back up the reports.


Late season ferry timetable ...


Skopelosnews have published the late season ferry timetable, on their website ...

Flying Cat's 10th September - 31st October

Express Skiathos 17th September - 31st October

Click here for details

Note the AK ferry (Express Pegasus) ceases on the 9th September - then heads up to Volos to cover for the Express Skiathos - whilst it has repairs ...

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Wishing I was ...

... Somewhere else that is lush green, and with blue skies this morning



Will do with the TMS commentary instead ...

PS - My 600th post an achievement in itself, Thank you for visiting.

Skiathos in ...

 the year 1935  ...



I love the old photos - how it has changed ...

Friday, 17 August 2012

Free trips to Greece up for grabs ...



The Greek National Tourism Organization (EOT) has extended the deadline for participation in the “True Greece” campaign until August 27. Interested persons can log on facebook and search for the “True Greece” application in order to sign up. The sweepstakes is giving away two free round trip tickets to Greece and seven nights’ accommodation to 150 winners. Prize winners will be able to book their tickets between the September 1 and December 31. Only certain airports will be allowed as departure airports.

The competition works by asking participants to select eight photos of Greece from the “True Greece” photo bank. Users can then share these photos on facebook and other social media in order to promote a positive vision of Greece to other social media users in their networks. The “True Greece” website also highlights travelers’ glowing testimonials of their time in Greece – counterstriking against the negative publicity that has made some tourists wary. (Athens News, LE)

Thursday, 16 August 2012

What was that ? ...

The engine has gone again ...

The Express Skiathos broke down here in Skiathos harbour yesterday, leaving passengers and vehicles blocking the dock. They had to wait there for other services while it limped off to Volos, where it now awaits further repairs.

Local word is the old girl is said to be operating on only one engine. So in deep trouble, having just had repairs after the six hour delay with engine problems at Volos on Sunday the 12th August.

The Express Skiathos has been dogged with engine trouble over the years, not helped by them running almost 18 hours a day at the moment - with no respite.

So what happens next - Transfer Express Pegasus up from AK ? - The old girl would not be able to make a clanking double run in 24 hours, it struggles with one at the moment.

Hellenic could always hire one of the Nel lines boats, say Panagia Parou to do the trip, that would be poetic justice ...

A lot of cars and people are booked on the Express Skiathos in the next few days, following the holiday yesterday. Then there is the small matter of the trucks that feed the islands - there may be trouble ahead ...

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

χρονια πολλα - 15 του αυγουστου ...

χρονια πολλα - 15 του αυγουστου - 'Many years Its 15th August'

Today is 15th August - Its the high point of summer ...

From now on those frayed nerves, amongst island folk (Those working in tourism) will start to ease, after today its all downhill to the end of the season. Its the big Bank holiday here in Greece, so what do you do ?

Go to the coffee shop of course !

Younger Greeks will head to Banana beach for a big party - well another big party after the last big party ...

However today the coffee shops will be packed, as the Greek tourists and locals alike, hit the caffeine big style, and take a sweet or two to accompany it as a digestif.

So - If you cannot beat them - join them ...


Later update:

So we did, and this is an example of what we found ...


Then this ...


But this one ticked all the boxes ...


Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Panagia ...

Tonight is the celebration of the Virgin Mary at the Evagelistria Monastery ...



There will be a procession around the grounds of the Monastery - many of the townsfolk will attend and follow the paths around the monastery with Pater Joseph, as they ask for wishes to be granted, and sins forgiven.

Tomorrow - August 15th is a major holiday here in Greece, the third most important religious holiday. Many businesses are closed and it marks the high point of summer. The city exodus reaches its peak, after this weekend the Greeks head for home from the islands, and another uncertain winter ahead ...


Monday, 13 August 2012

Tonight ...

These beauties are on the menu ...


Fresh from the market this morning, and to the plate this evening ...

Sunday night / Monday morning ...

Everyone else wake up with post-Olympic gloom?

Well London sure knows how to put on a party ...




Sunday, 12 August 2012

Saturday evening / Sunday morning ...

Its the morning after the night before ...

Watched the Olympics on TV last night. Now any of the doubters cannot argue, the London 2012 games have been fantastic, the achievements of Team GB second to none despite that they are third in the medals table.

I was interested to see that the Prime minister - never short of a soundbite opportunity, has announced he is to put Competitive sport, for children at the heart of the Olympics legacy


Great news, I wonder how he is going to do that ?

I seem to remember Margaret Thatcher doing the same, she was at the forefront of selling off the school playing fields for housing development - I wonder how many medals were lost as a result of that Olympic legacy ...

Mo Farah was amazing the way he paced himself for the race, staying at the back of the field -well actually last place where our athletes normally finish - before moving through the field. A well executed move and a great race to the finish.



TV coverage here being interupted to show a Greek guy called Spiridon, throwing a Javelin - admitedly better than some, who kept falling over or doing handstands in the process. They should have brought back Steve Brackley, still covered in bandages, braces and duct and masking tape to stop himself falling apart - Thats the Olympic spirit we know so well ...

Over in the pool, Tom Daley narrowly lost out on Gold, what a competition, and worth staying up to watch, still I did feel sorry for the German guy. Dislocating his shoulder on his final dive - that must have hurt ...


Have you seen a happier medal winner than this ?

Well I am off to someone's pool later. Feeling full of patriotic fervour. I will be competing in the 30cm non springboard running bomb event. Its warm here and I am out to make a big splash ...

Happy Sunday wherever you are ...

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Saturday afternoon ...

Karpouzi Karpouzi ! the man shouts ...

Its a call made over a loudspeaker, that brings people rushing out from un-airconditioned houses, on stifling hot days.

Good idea I say to SWMBO - I cannot carry that she says - OK give it to Junior to roll it home, like a beachball then ...

How to choose a good Karpouzi - click here ...

However if you read this north of the alps, that trip to the local hypermarket is in vain, as they will not taste like these beauties ...




Saturday morning ...

Well it's lovely, stunning light for photos, birds singing, blue skies, and someone is coughing up a lifetime of cigarettes, just a few doors away - Its a different type of dawn chorus ...


After an early morning forage at the bakery, I return with mini  tυρóπιτα (Cheese pies) mini  spanákóπιτα  (Spinach pies) still warm from the oven. Raisin and sesame κουλουρακια (Bread ring like a pretzel) and of course a crispy fresh baked loaf of bread.


Breakfast saw junior taking great delight in removing the raisins, sweet after their short time in the oven, and giving a double thumbs up of approval. Its a true fact sesame seed seldom stay where intended and are now everywhere ...

The air has cooled and there are now clouds in the sky, it remains to be seen if we will get any long awaited rain ...

Thursday, 9 August 2012

My friends over on Skopelosnews posted an honest article, about the high fire risk on the islands at the moment. You can read it here

As i write Athens News advises that to the north at Halkidiki - Ouranoupolis is being evacuated, and Mount Athos is on alert, due to wildfires.


Read the full article at http://www.athensnews.gr/portal/1/57547

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

2 seats available - LGW/JSI Fri 31st Aug/Fri 14th Sept ...


Good friends of mine wish to sell 2 flight only tickets to Skiathos departing from Gatwick On Fri 31st Aug returning on Fri 14th September.

Selling for £300 + £60pp to change names.

If anyone is interested please contact me and i will put you in touch ...

Lots of yachts out at sea ...

So whats it all about, I have been asked ?

Its the North Aegean International Sailing Week (N.A.I.S.W.) for 2012 which is again being held over on Skopelos island,  from 4 to 11 August.


Further details can be found on the website here ...

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

I know, I should not do it ...

... but it was a bargain and it was just gathering dust sitting on the shelf ..

I could not bring myself to leave it there to go to waste with a €3 saving at that price ...


The town of Rapsani and its wine region are just 20 minutes north of Volos. Sitting under Pelion mountain with stunning scenery - probably best viewed through the bottom of a wine glass ...

So the question is - Now do i drink it - or save it for a later rainy day ...

Monday, 6 August 2012

Travels again ...

However a visit to the local monday market, saw fresh supplies returned to the house ...



Had I purchased this back home on Skiathos, I would be rather short of funds by now ...

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Its all gone ...

... very quiet

Lately on the blog, however Skiathos is being crammed with tourists from the mainland.

The Express Skiathos is arriving twice daily packed to the 'crows nest' with young people heading for a few days here on 'the rock'

In fact at weekends, you cannot get a seat on the ferry until late at night - my preferred time of travel ...

This afternoon, I watched as the Express swallowed up thousands of people, and their cars and then just squeezed some more cars on the lorry deck before departing to Volos.

Its hot, peoples patience is as close to boiling point as the temperatures around us

... spare a thought for those working in the heat, to give you all a good time whilst you are here.

No rain here for ages and none on the horizon too - September and the cooling chance of a storm is just a month away.

Last night the power in town and across the island went off, (Too much aircon perhaps ?) the Paralia looked quite romantic without street lights. Some businesses operating with back up supplies or on different circuits, gave the town a fairy tale look ...

However the heat and dust, are accompanied by a gut renching stink from the harbour - as the numerous yachts and motor cruisers foul our safe haven, and make me wish for the lazy days of winter.

Before that though peaches are ripening on the bushes. The first figs are ripe too and bursting open on the trees, attracting hungry wasps. The island tomatoes, cucumbers and fresh produce has amazing taste and freshness.

We must enjoy the fruits of the island - The season end, short as it is - is but 9 short weeks away ...


Thursday, 2 August 2012

Another little rumble ...

The earth plates shook the house plates again  ... 

Magnitude ML 4.2 
Region AEGEAN SEA 
Date time 2012-08-02 10:30:39.0 UTC 
Location 39.27 N ; 23.71 E 
Depth 24 km 
Distances 143 km NW Athens (pop 729,137 ; local time 13:30:39.7 2012-08-02) 
118 km E Lárisa (pop 128,758 ; local time 13:30:39.7 2012-08-02) 
66 km E Vólos (pop 84,425 ; local time 13:30:39.7 2012-08-02) 
14 km NE Glóssa (pop 987 ; local time 13:30:39.7 2012-08-02) 





We have had some strange waves in the harbour, over the last few days. No sign of passing ships or anything to explain why. I suggested to friends there were some rumblings - but no one felt or heard anything.

I watched an empty upright fanta bottle, twist on the table, like it was dancing when this happened - The bottles here have four stumps like feet - it was the strangest thing to see before your eyes ...