Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Hellas airline from Volos to London ...

I am reliably advised the London base, they will be using will be Luton ...

The company plans to launch flights on January 15, 2013. The reservations online will begin on December 15, 2012. the price from London to Volos, will be a set price €160 return ...


Big Skies ...

Clouds of every shape and dimension this morning ...

There is a change in the weather coming again, and you can see it in the skies.

To the North at 8.15am


Later from the Harbour at around 8.30am


Then looking west, as a homeward bound fisherman arrives at the port ...


Tuesday, 30 October 2012

The sun is up ...

... the sky is blue

A lovely autumnal morning, now the storms have passed. Still rather breezy though. ...


Tries Hieraches in the morning sunlight. ...


Monday, 29 October 2012

Electrical storm ...

Lightning storm beyond Skopelos/Skyros this evening ...


Estimated to be around 80 km away, so beyond Skyros. Friends fishing out North of Alonissos suggest quite a distance away. Stunning to watch, even  from here on Skiathos. Friends on Skopelos reported hail like ice cubes this morning too ...

Thunderstorms ...

Interesting weather all around us at the moment ...


A line of thunderstorms has crossed Greece in the last few hours. Its been rather showery here, and with more than a distant rumble of thunder 'nearby' since 7am ...

Sunday, 28 October 2012

OXI day (Photos) ...

The memorial and the wreaths ...


White water anyone ...


Sadly the parade could not go along the Paralia due to the weather - due to the very strong southerly winds reaching 55 km/h (35mph) 


The weather did not get much better this afternoon ... 










Cracking the flags...

Stiff breeze this morning ...

The breeze has been strengthening again this morning. Last night the waves were slapping against the paralia, as the warm wind from the south did its work. Its the breeze that sinks boats, and they had all retreat to behind the new harbour wall last night.

This morning the waves were slamming hard against the Paralia. Spray plumes crossing the Paralia, and reaching as far as the tavernas. The flags and bunting cracking in the breeze and looking like they were starched.





At the church, the priest ringing the 'Come to church bells' at Tries Hieraches, and doing a great job with the banners flapping very near to his head.

To top it all - the wind is from the south, so its warm, sticky and when I got back home, was sweating ...

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Flags and bunting ...

... everywhere

Ohi Day (also spelled Ochi Day, Greek: Επέτειος του «'Οχι» Epeteios tou "'Ohi", Anniversary of the "No") is celebrated throughout Greece, Cyprus and the Greek communities around the world on October 28 each year, to commemorate the rejection by Greek dictator Ioannis Metaxas (in power from August 4, 1936, until January 29, 1941) of the ultimatum made by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini on October 28, 1940.

This ultimatum, which was presented to Metaxas by the Italian ambassador in Greece, Emanuele Grazzi, on October 28, 1940, at dawn (04:00 am), after a party in the German embassy in Athens, demanded that Greece allow Axis forces to enter Greek territory and occupy certain unspecified "strategic locations" or otherwise face war. It was allegedly answered with a single laconic word: όχι (No!) However, his actual reply was, Alors, c'est la guerre (Then it is war).

In response to Metaxas's refusal, Italian troops stationed in Albania, then an Italian protectorate, attacked the Greek border at 05:30 am the beginning of Greece's participation in World War II
On the morning of October 28 the Greek population took to the streets, irrespective of political affiliation, shouting 'ochi'. From 1942, it was celebrated as Ohi Day.




Tomorrow (Sunday)  is OXI day, Tries Hieraches church, the church square, Papadamatis street and all along the paralia is decorated with flags, bunting and banners. On every anniversary, most public buildings and residences are decorated with Greek flags.

The children from the nursery, yesterday marched to the war memorial, and laid their own wreath. Then joined their parents at the cafes on the paralia.

On Sunday there will be a large parade, and the children will sing the patriotic song, as they march along the Paralia.

Following which more patriotism will be evident in the cafe's and ouzerias, where coffeee and lunch will be taken, whilst the children play nearby ...


Thursday, 25 October 2012

Back and forth ...

I crossed town four times this morning by 1pm, dealing with officialdom  Today was even better than yesterday, when it was four times by 3pm, and five by 5pm. A new record ...

I visited Yorgos at the stationery office three times, photocopying the same documents over and over again. Only to have them 'not required' when presented at the office that asked for them, or to be sent back for more.

Yorgos is a very busy man at the moment, his photocopier working almost night and day, as customers need to present papers at the town hall - where they are lodging their claims for seasonal unemployment benefit.

One of my transits included the town hall, where the best part of the day was being ushered to the front of a queue, that would have been one of many hours, to see the official concerned. Thank you to the patient people who kindly let me pass ...

On the way, I learned (in passing) that the Skiathos Tax Office is closing, and relocating to Volos. The last day is the 31st October. After this date all the work will be undertaken in Volos.

If you need to pay anything important, and need an official receipt, then there are just a few days left, or you will need to hop on a ferry to Volos. Local banks will (apparently) accept payments over the counter. National Bank the preferred option, when not on strike - like today ...

So at the end of another tiring day of trips across town, (Including one by a new route, I discovered all by myself) - I have a new collection of stamps, another photo in a book, and another piece of paper, I must not loose ...

Another milestone - 30000 page visits - Thank you for visiting ...

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

No Money - No Honey ...

No one has any money on this island ...

If thats the case, how come there is so much building work taking place ?

I crossed town three times by 1pm, then another twice by 5pm. There is work taking place everywhere in town, and some of it is a lot more than general maintenance.

The village is reverberating as kango hammers, are being used, scaffold towers erected. Even our street has major works in one of the houses, and deliveries all day, and truckloads of rubble being removed.

Even some of the old derelict houses are showing signs of new life. Its great to see some investment taking place in what are tough times.

More rain showers today, however it seems the bad weather has passed by at least for a few days. The thunderstorm radar has nothing within 400km of us, so a quiet night in prospect it seems.

Just what you need after a home made lasagne, glass of red and a piece of plum cake.

Old episode of the Masterchef final to view, followed by a slow scan of the back of the eyelids ...

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Its a wet one ...


Thunderstorms nearby overnight, and heavy rain showers here ...

Looks like it will be like this for the next day or so. The skies are heavy with brooding stormy clouds, with interruptions of bright autumn sunshine. The island had a good soaking first thing, and the olive groves will be lush for the picking of the olives over the next few weeks.

However everywhere has a fresh aroma as all the storm drains have been washed through and the streets are clean. The harbour though had a rather muddy look first thing.

Shame as sea has been lovely to swim in - perhaps in a few days we can swim again ...

Later: Tonight the rain has returned, Its like an army of ants is walking over the roof with 'Hob nail boots.'

The showers are heavy, but short and sweet, and the neighbours ancient roof sends water off into the street in a torrent. The street itself  turned into a river of water within seconds, as the rainwater heads down towards the storm drains and the sea.

For the first time this autumn, the shutters are closed, and the house feels like it is getting ready for winter ...

Monday, 22 October 2012

Rumble over the hills ...

Dark brooding skies this morning ...

Billowing cumulonimbus clouds, that were mauve grey and threatening. A few 'spits and spots' of rain in the air. The threatened rain seems to have arrived on the island, after our fantastic run of late summer weather.

Later: A breeze has developed and there have been a few claps of thunder. Speaking to friends down the island - "Its tipping it down" yet here in town a few light sprinkles of rain on the roof.

The signs are that I may have to wear long trousers later ...

Even Later: This afternoon, I ventured out on my bike to Asteras, on the  way, I stopped at the garage to pump up the tyres. The gauge has been changed to BAR from PSI - what is 55lbs  PSI in BAR ?  No good, so i employed the finger test - Tyre has not exploded, and feels quite firm = 55  PSI  - Comfortable ride home - meeting lots of friends enjoying the late afternoon sun ...

Saturday, 20 October 2012

A scorching afternoon ...

The paralia in the afternoon sun. ...


... and yes, I did, it was a glass of Krassi white, beaded and dripping with condensation in the afternoon heat. 

A near deserted Paralia, where on the screen at Syraino's - Chelsea were one up against Spurs, and later after a game of two halves, I was able to enjoy the blues win back at home ...



Thursday, 18 October 2012

In the old days ...

... this was the last night of the season

Nowadays tourism officially ended, when the last airliner to Norway departed last Saturday. The Brits and most of the scandinavians a week earlier.

Today was a general strike day, and it seems we are unaffected  The ferry and the flying cat operated normally. EKO1 the fuel tanker has arrived for the island fuel deliveries too.

Its still very warm, humid even, and the beaches are paradise, no sunbeds etc The sea warm enough to swim in, and even tonight its quite OK to walk the streets in a t-shirt and shorts.

The tavernas that are open are the local ones, and people are sitting outside, enjoying a glass of something or eating out in the warm air.

Makes you wonder does'nt it - Don't you wish you were here ? ...

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

New connections to Volos ...


Hellas Airlines will be offering scheduled flights from London to Volos, from early next year. In addition there will be a domestic flight from Volos to Skiathos.

Bookings should be available online from mid December.

Timetable TBA ...

ANES Lines are in discussions to offer a peak summer schedule, ferry service between Volos and the Sporades islands ...

F/B PROTEUS which currently operates a service from Rhodes to Symi, will be routeing Volos - Skiathos - Skopelos - Alonissos during the period from 07/06/2013 to 30/09/2013. If the route proves to be viable, then it will operate a winter service too  ...








F/B PROTEUS - IMO 7350416 - Built 1973  - Passengers - 860 - Cars 135 - Knots 17 - Owner : ANES



Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Firewood ...

Have you ever ever wondered what a ton of firewood looks like ?

No, I thought not ...


But I know what it feels like ...

Now, like my creaking back, and also minus a few centilitres of sweat  - You are in the know ...

If ever you want the neighbours to come calling, then Yorgos truck, and the first delivery of firewood is sure to do that for you.

It was like the birds of prey had descended on a carcass. Examining the wood, the quality and of course searching questions, on the price you paid ...

Monday, 15 October 2012

Good morning from Skiathos ...

Palio Limani - 09.15am ...

View from the Old Port Cafe  ...

Sliding Doors ...

Have you ever seen the film ?

Sliding Doors is a 1998 British-American romantic comedy-drama film written and directed by Peter Howitt and starring Gwyneth Paltrow and John Hannah, and featured John Lynch, Jeanne Tripplehorn and Virginia McKenna. The film alternates between two parallel universes, based on the two paths the central character's life could take depending on whether or not she catches a train.

We can all wonder about what if ?  Crossing the road, catching the bus, the list goes on. Its all the more apparent when you live in the big cities. Last night, I just caught sight of something on twitter.  A split second and it was gone, but I followed it up.

WW2 Tweets from 1940  @RealTimeWWII
Livetweeting the 2nd World War, as it happens on this date & time in 1940, & for 5 years to come.

It was just after 10pm here in Skiathos, 8pm in the UK, and 72 years later ...

WW2 Tweets from 1940 ‏@RealTimeWWII
8.02PM Balham Underground Station has suffered a direct hit from a high-explosive bomb. Hundreds of people sheltering from air raid inside.

WW2 Tweets from 1940 ‏@RealTimeWWII
Balham Station has partially collapsed, choking tunnels with rubble. Few casualties yet- main platforms still standing. 

WW2 Tweets from 1940 ‏@RealTimeWWII
Balham bomb has burst water mains & sewage pipes, making them flow straight into the station. Tunnels blocked- platforms starting to flood.

WW2 Tweets from 1940 ‏@RealTimeWWII
Balham station engineer: "As I scrambled to open an emergency door, people scratched at my hands in desperation- my fingers bled in ribbons"

WW2 Tweets from 1940 ‏@RealTimeWWII
66 people are dead at Balham Tube Station. Bodies buried beneath rubble, & trapped underwater. Gas leak suffocated some 

WW2 Tweets from 1940 ‏@RealTimeWWII
A London bus has plunged headlong into the vast crater outside Balham Tube Station- in blackout, driver didn't see it. 

Well for just over a year, I lived in London near Balham, I used this tube station  on my way to work. I had seen the plaque on the wall commemorating this sad day, not really knowing what it meant. Like many others streaming down the hole into a subterranean world, to catch a train. We all head off on a split second into our own world  of what if's ...

That day people streamed down into the tube, to take shelter from falling bombs. They travelled from quite a distance looking to take shelter, some being turned away from other stations that were full. On the 14th October 1940 at 8.02pm a 1400 kilo semi armour piercing bomb penetrated 32 feet underground and exploded just above the cross passage between the two platforms.

Its known as the Balham disaster, and due to censorship, was not made public. Had it been made public  then Londoners would have thought twice, about taking shelter in the tube system, and greater loss of life taken place.

What if the 64 had chosen somewhere else to shelter?

What if the man above pressed the button a split second later?

I took that Northbound platform, through those tunnels, many times nearly seventy years later. Going through my own series of What if's just to get there. One day thinking - What if I move to Skiathos?

What if - I had not? then you would not be reading this right now ...

Sunday, 14 October 2012

One small step for man ...

One giant leap back to mankind ...


I watched enthralled this evening as Felix Baumgartner started his journey hurtling towards the Earth at 834mph. Then his parachute opened and, five minutes later, 'Fearless Felix' had completed the highest and fastest skydive in history.

In doing so, the 43-year-old Austrian became the first freefall diver to break the sound barrier, as well as breaking the record for the highest manned balloon ascent.

As NASA would say - 'He had the right stuff' ...

7am wake up call ...

Just after 7am, and an unmistakable dawn chorus ...

I know sound travels over great distances even in town, especially now it is quiet. But I can clearly hear a Donkey braying somewhere in town. That's a new one for this autumn. I have not heard him before ...

Its so quiet the priest is ringing the 'come to church' bells at Tries Hieraches, they sound as if they are right next door. I can even hear the low decibel hum, from the bell itself, after they have been rung too. Shortly afterwards, the priest rings the bells at Panagia Limani, and it is as if they are located where Tries Hieraches should be.

Well the day is dawning, a few clouds, and some hazy blue appearing from the gloom. Soon be time for some lovely fresh eggs for breakfast , and some marmalade made from clementines from Kechria - a gift from an island neighbour yesterday. Lunch today will be two red snappers, another gift from an island neighbour.

A friend (and blog regular) said yesterday ...

"Skopelos is having a meeting regarding ways of establishing a 'social groceries' distribution network on the island." 

Well here it just happens ...

Now the sound from within the house, of life at the start of a new day, only this one is more demanding, is hungry and says Dadda ...


Saturday, 13 October 2012

Is that Wild Boar really wild ?

I guess it was when they shot him  ...

Just took delivery of 5kg of wild boar from the Pelion, via the flying cat ready for autumn/winter casseroles. If you are a vegetarian or not a lover of game, then look away now ...


Meanwhile in the back streets of town, next Pasca's lunch are undertaking organic weed clearing in Skiathos town this afternoon. ...


Watched over by the owners Boxer ...




Town Garden ...

I pass this vegetable garden every day ...

Now what I like is the approach to managing the plot, its in full use all year round. A watering system is in place, the land is fed and compost made. 

To the rear you can see, the owner has already prepared for winter. 



Each day that I look, I notice something different has been done to the plot. However I have never seen the owner. Its given me some ideas, I can tell you.



Maybe the time has come, for me to return to the land again ...

There is some colour too ...

Friday, 12 October 2012

Skiathos Nuts ...

On my way back this morning, I passed the bakaliko that is Skiathos Nuts ...

Although it has Delicious fresh ground coffee ~ It has fresh and dried herbs, spices and much more.



The aromatherapy though is free  ...

Someone just asked me what it is like here at the moment, this is what i said ...

Amazing sunlight, warm and a few tourists enjoying the weather. Very much like May. Its lush green out of town, huge olives hanging from the trees, quince, apples, pomegranates, and heather flowering everywhere. If you were an artist the scenery would light up your canvas ...





Thursday, 11 October 2012

Skiathos this evening ...

On my way back from the airport this evening, I took these photos ...





Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Michaela's (Amazing) Skiathos photos ...

Some photo's shared with the kind permission of Michaela Gordon  ...

All photos below © Michaela Gordon 2012. All rights reserved.


Bee covered in pollen!

The infamous beach geese of Kolios...
He's an ugly bug...have a look at what he's got in his mouth!!!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Long Trousers ...

I wore long trousers today - for all the wrong reasons ...

Early this morning, it rained heavily. Yet this morning in daylight the streets were dry again.

I set out early to bring stores for winter back to the house, kindling that i have been collecting, and a few cans of beer for winter. The car boot was quite full of wood for firing up the mighty woodburner. Hopefully not until much later this year.

Our Carrefour supermarket reduced the price of Fix beer by 50% yesterday on a one day promotion. I have not seen so much beer shifted in such a short time. They were moving pallets of the stuff from the warehouse into the store, and it was going just as quick through the tills.

It was €1.86 for 4x500ml cans. Bottles 500ml were 72 cents each with 14 cents back on the returned bottle. I think its going to be on the menu, at many more local establishments next year. Book up quick if you want to enjoy the experience ...

Beer and kindling safely stored back at base, I had to raise the house occupants. Not the easiest of tasks as the mornings are now much darker, and the desire to stay in bed much stronger.

By the time we were prepared to leave, the house it was raining again. Cloudy skies and a cool draught outside. So I opened the wardrobe and started looking for those strange things, that I have not seen for six months - The fading denims ...

Just as well, as the skies were very heavy and the drizzle threatened a downpour at any moment.

We crossed town and back without getting too damp, and the threatening skies, did not give us the deluge that was clearly promised.

Back at home, I scanned the Facebook page as we do here for news, and there was the info we were expecting. Phil's funeral today at 12 noon, at Tries Hieraches church. That was in around an hour and a half.

Quick calls to friends as not everyone is on the FB news machine. Change my plans and get the suit out of the wardrobe.

By 11.45 we were sheltering from the rain under the canopy of the venue bar. A very well attended gathering, and Greek and Albanian neighbours joining the Brits assembled there in the rain.

I have never attended a Greek funeral before, I am very impressed by the dignity and respect that was displayed to Phil and his wife and family today, by all those who were present. Especially the close friends, his Greek neighbours, and the representatives of the Greek Orthodox church.

A few people said to me today they did not know Phil, I cannot claim to either. Yet whenever I met him and his wife, we always passed the time of day. Me like so many others assembled today at his time of passing,  had been touched by our island neighbour.

On a small island we all really do know each other, just a little. It just sad that it takes an occasion like this to make you realise that. RIP Phil ...


Thank you - Rain gods ...

That early morning heavy shower of rain, means no need to wash the dust and sand off the car ...

Monday, 8 October 2012

Bouquet Garni - To go ...

I arranged to meet Vasilis Korallis (Author of the Walks of Skiathos Island) for my annual delivery of Oregano, from his secret stash up in the hills. We arranged the covert delivery, outside a place we both know in town. 

He said, "How will I recognise you" ? 
I said "I am the guy with a limp - with a parrot on his shoulder" 

Todays consignment included a bonus years worth of mint too ...



Now I have a substantial supply, thanks to the best forager on the island. So we went to another place we know named after a beer on the paralia, for a coffee, and a catch up. Me with my shopping, from the supermarket, and my bag bursting with the most amazing Bouquet Garni that you could imagine.

Some English friends, who are still  here on holiday, stopped to take in the fragrant heady aroma - They had just enjoyed a great afternoon at Taverna Stamatis. They were enthusing about the meze, and the excellent hospitality they had recieved ...

However even they could not believe the scent, from the drying herbs - this despite the stiffening breeze here this evening ...

Hawk update ...

Sadly despite the best efforts of friends, both near and afar - This beautiful bird passed away ...

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Why would anyone do this ?


A good samaritan, removing electrical cable from a buzzard this evening ...

It had been trussed up with a heavy electrical wire, and put out for the rubbish tonight, luckily a good friend came to the rescue




   




Now lets see what the Vet can do in the morning ...



Sad News to share ...

Phil from the King and Queen pub, passed away after a short illness, in the early hours of this morning.

I am sure you will join me in offering Caz, our condolences at this the saddest of times ...

Saturday, 6 October 2012

The puddle jumper ...

... or the 'Public obligation service' as it is officially known


OA068 from Athens - Dash 8-400

Last one out ...

Is a Thomas Cook  ...


Thomas Cook G - JWCG taxiing down Runway 20
Call sign MT103 - Flight number TCX58JW

Thomas Cook G - JWCG  lined up on Runway 02

Friday, 5 October 2012

A perfect afternoon ...

Well for me anyway ...

I was hobbling past Limanaria, heading towards the airport, when Yorgo screeched to a halt on his ancient scooter. Get on he said, well easier said than done, with a dodgy trotter and away we went.

Yorgo can talk, give advice, answer a mobile and pass me a cream pie - whilst driving. Who says men cannot multitask. Even did a swift U-turn and mobile pick up when my cap flew off. Somehow I managed to get off the scooter and swing the dodgy trotter over a piece of plywood, where the crate will go - or had been ...

The Amaretto had a few aircraft enthusiasts, all watching the distant terminal. We could hear one of the aircraft on tickover ready for departure. Seated and an Amstel at the ready, friends arrived and so did the replacement for the Manchester strategic aircraft - Strategic having gone bust two days earlier ...

The Czech travel service Boeing 737-800 with Spanish advertising heading for Manchester


Then another beer and a few jokes as we caught up with 'chippie' Ray on his new project with olivewood and driftwood collected from the beaches. I reminded him to leave some for us, as we need to keep the home fires burning this winter ...

Next up, was the Aurelia for London Gatwick. A rather old 737-300 that had clearly seen a lot of life, and not been near the aircraft wash in a while.


I went down to the waters edge, to get a centre line photo, and got chatting with a pilot. Busmans holiday, at the airport watching the aircraft. So lots of interesting info about the engines and approach from someone in the know. Also lots of opinion on the airline that had just gone under ...

Next in is one of my favourites, and a real workhorse. The mighty Monarch from Manchester - G-MONK. Loved the ground effect wave of air as it passed around 100 feet over my head. The waft of warm spent kerosene following closely behind in its vapour trail.





G-MONK turning onto runway 02 the pilots waving their departuure maps to us, and giving  us all the thumbs up  ...


In next was the replacement for the Gatwick strategic aircraft - A Livingston Airbus, no landing photo, as I had a beer rather than a camera in hand.


Then the arrival and departure of the last Monarch, Heading for London Gatwick  G-MONJ. Again the Monarch crew waving to us, before they rattled the windows in town with the thunderous departure up runway 02  and into the evening skies.




Then it went very quiet, and we have one aircraft departure tomorrow for the UK, then we get the island back ...