Thursday, 29 November 2012

Skiathos Olives, Bad weather & Logging ...

Great Video by friends on the island, as they say - There is more to Skiathos, than sandy beaches, and parties. This video represents a part of these other amazing things this island has to offer ...





Meanwhile the weather has closed in to help shake the Olives from the trees ...

Gales - Sea Moderate to rough - Force 7 - Skiathos ...
The fury of the sea ...
The relentless sea ...

15:00 hrs: Poseidon weather was bang on the money - It tipped down right on time ...

An interesting article from the Guardian this afternoon, and shared here about illegal logging of the forests over on Pelion. Something dear to our hearts here on Skiathos.


Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Kalee Spera apo Skiatho ...

Update on the Olive press activities:

Our man in the hills advises ...

'Ah the early morning sounds of Skiathos, the olive factory press now running 24 hrs a day to keep up with demand. Just took another 15 sacks to the factory, it is jam packed in there now, the 100 bays are full and half the yard is now stacked with pallets of olives'

I have seen vans creaking as their axles struggle under the weight of their loads heading for the olive press up the hill. Even today here in town, workers were harvesting huge bamboo poles near the school for use as tree beaters.

Skiathian Marmalade:

1st batch of bitter oranges bagged, the school kids were using them as airborne missiles, so scrumped whilst the time was ripe. Just helping to keep Skiathos clean and tidy ...

Christmas has arrived at Carrefour:

The token skinny christmas trees are out, as are last years left over baubles and decorations. The deli counter is decorated, with small christmas trees, and some dried up cake on offer to tempt you. There is some interesting but astronomically priced Parma ham at €26 for six slices in the fridge too.

Later update ...

20.41pm local time and a wood delivery is taking place. Seems the woodmen are now working 24/7 too ...

For those without aroma-vision PC's or Laptops, I can confirm that the town is perfumed with woodsmoke now 24/7 as well. I have been told off politely for mentioning this by hardy Brits. However they are holding out for a rainy day, or sitting discretely by electric fires.

There has been a nip in the air of late but tonight its rather mild - We are not burning wood this evening either ...

Kalee mera apo Skiatho ...

Not a bad autumn morning, here on the rock ...





Monday, 26 November 2012

Olive angst ...

The trouble with Olives is that they are hard work ...

Well at least for a month every two years. During the last few weeks I have heard some grumbles about it from ex-pat friends. The romantic notion of having your own oil, being crushed in my mind, like the olives in the press.

I notice many ex-pats this year are falling out of love with the olive, and the hard work required in the collection process. Many are not bothering to pick them, and that I think is rather sad. The ex-pat says its cheaper to buy the oil at the supermarket. The Greek says its a gift from the land, and its his heritage so he must collect it.

I was in the supermarket the other day and two ladies were discussing the olive collection, trimming of the trees and was it worth it apart from the firewood. In the next aisle came a friend from the island. I joked what are you doing here, you should be picking Olives, within a minute he described what he was doing, his curing for food, and when he would collect the Olives.

All with a passion and so eloquently described, that I cannot attempt to capture it here. The other side of the counter did go a little quiet. It seems to me, we love the tree, it looks nice over a drinks glass, as it's leaves change colour during the day. But when the time comes to share its gift, its a passion lost.

Now I do not have any trees, I have not been involved in a collection  other than for my own use. But if I was lucky to own an olive grove, I would make it work for me, come hell or high water. Its part of life on a Greek island, something being lost through neglect of the Olive grove.

Without the care and management, the trees grow wild and do not fruit. Wild trees become targets for wood hunters, and that is a crime. The Olive tree, has to be harvested, and when trimmed, its timbers give you heat in winter ...

However if you have a record breaking year for Olives, then you will also have a record breaking year, for back breaking work. Many hands make light work, but you have to pay for the labour, and feed the team.

If you stick to the task, then in a few days you will be proud of your achievement. You will also have the taste of a golden summer for the next two years, and time to plan on the terrace, how to do it - when its time to do it all again ...

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Now about that oil ...


Hanging-olives

Olive Oil Facts
• Olive growers watch the trees carefully for an even blend of ripe, maroon-colored olives and less-ripe green fruit to balance the flavor of the oil. If a great percentage of the olives harvested are green, the oil will have a much more intense taste, often described as peppery. 
• Harvested olives must be shaded quickly to avoid sunburn and processed as soon as possible to avoid bruising and molding. 
• Extra-virgin olive oil is a natural fruit juice that preserves the taste, aroma, vitamins and properties of the olive fruit. 
• It’s the only vegetable oil that can be consumed as is, pressed fresh from the fruit.
• Freshly pressed olive oil is cloudy due to the small particles of olives that are suspended in the oil. Many people love the taste of the extra-virgin nectar, with its assertive flavor and very spicy back-of-the-throat finish—often shocking to the uninitiated palate. Known as oliva nueva, the oil is stored in barrels or cans for about two months to allow the olive particles to settle to the bottom before the oil is bottled. 
• Extra-virgin olive oil has an acidity level of less than 0.8 percent. Olives must be pressed within 24 hours of picking so that the acid level doesn’t increase, ideally at a temperature of no higher than 86 degrees (high-heat extraction methods produce more oil, but the subtle flavor characteristics of the olive are lost). 
• Extra-virgin olive oil is high in monounsaturated fats (fatty acids) and polyphenols, which are antioxidant substances. Studies have shown that olive oil protects the body from heart disease by controlling LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol levels, while raising HDL, or “good,” cholesterol levels. No other naturally produced oil has as much monounsaturated fatty acids as olive oil. Research also suggests that including extra-virgin olive oil in the diet may bolster the immune system and aid in preventing colon cancer.
A NO-WASTE CROP: The entire olive tree can be used to create products, beginning with the fruit, which is pressed for oil or brined for use as table olives and spreads such as tapenades. The pomace left after crushing the olives is used as compost and cattle feed. The oil is used in a variety of culinary applications and also for making skin-softening soaps. Leaves of the olive tree are used in making skin and beauty products, often in conjunction with the oil, while olive-leaf tea, which contains more antioxidants than green tea due to a high level of polyphenols, is becoming increasingly popular. Finally, olive wood is a hardwood with a particularly lovely grain that is used to produce long-lasting kitchen utensils and decorative home accessories.



Saturday, 24 November 2012

Supermarket sweep ...

Today's cooking journey sent me looking for Chicken livers ...

Pate costs a fortune here and comes in tubs or cans from nondescript places in Europe. So today I thought I would make my own, armed with a copy of an internet recipe. On my way out of Carrefour with 1/2 kilo of Chicken Livers, I paused at the wine shelves, looking for a cheap white.

Looking over to my favourite red, the Rapsani 2009, I had the shock of my life. Reduced from €9.40 to €€7.60 yesterday, and now just €4.30 on a promotion ...



This kind of bargain is not to be missed, so called interested parties across the island, straight away. Some are waiting until Monday. Others threw down their tree bamboos, and deserted the olive groves at speed heading down to town in the 4x4's.

I know there will be a warm welcome in the hillsides, by the fire for some. Others may still be drinking Party wine - but you do your best. Sadly I was on a mission - So only one bottle of winter warmer for the rack for me, but its good to share a bargain every once in a while.

Chicken livers, cleaned fried and whizzed up with oyster mushrooms, some red onion, and almost the last of my smoked garlic. The two bowls of creamy pate, really tastes not bad at all, and is in the fridge, setting under a top hat of clarified butter.

Time enough still, to watch England compete every step of the way with South Africa, matching the Springboks for intensity and desire as they battled back from 16-6 down with real heart to lose 16-15. I switched back to watching highlights of the cricket, only to see the Aussies collapse against the Proteas, at Adelaide. Better times for England in the morning on the sub-continent - I hope ...

Tonight's risotto also used up the rest of the mushrooms, with a glass of white that sent me sleepy in front of the fire ...

Late news - Another friend down the island reporting, a  huge harvest of Olives, excellent quality oil at 0.3% acidity. This is the year of the Olive, and the factory is working 24/7 producing Liquid Gold for the islanders. More still to pick, many waiting to increase the yield by waiting for the olives to turn black and soft, and juicy.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Blisters ...

Yes they hurt, and today my trusty merrell's which are disintegrating on my feet, gave me a blister.

They have covered many kilometres on this island, both up hill, down the valley, up trees and even into a lake. The tread is distinctly slippy on the cobbles, but they fit like a glove - if only a rather worn one ...

One school run, a trip to Carrefour for the shopping, a transit of Papadamatis street - Amazing fresh fish and beautiful vegetables in abundance. A trip to the other side of town to recycle bottles, and later a walk down club strip, a coffee and a catch up with friends at M.I.N.T. - Bellissimo ...

On the way back, I diverted and by the fire station, met an old man, with a determined look in his eye and a sharp hooked saw. He was as surprised to see me as, I was to nearly knock him over. We laughed and the object of his toothy grin (There were a few left) was the tall bamboo.

Olives I said ? Yes he said, and no problem - But that's how I ended up hanging on the Bamboo whilst he cut the stems for canes to beat his olive trees ...

Later as i made it back, Alex (Most famous and best waiter in Skiathos) was helping to trim a sycamore tree, and with Angelos and my left Merrell - we managed to send the branches on their way, into the play area. They were swiftly cut up and removed for firewood, by our loyal eco friendly island neighbours ...


Whilst we are on the subject of recycling, my neighbours like to drink beer. At least twice a week and quite a lot of it. They also do not like to take the empties back. 

They also make a bit of a crash, when they go in the back of the rubbish truck, and off to a hole in the ground, located on the top of the island for the next thousand years.

So according to my latest 'recycling index' around two dozen empties = I free bottle of wine - Yammas !



Thursday, 22 November 2012

Christmas is coming ...

Just over a month to go, and the panic buying will have started in earnest.

Bath salts will be dusted down, re-wrapped and sent on the eternal loop to another auntie. The tinsel and tree will be brought down from the loft, the fairy lights tested, and will short circuit the electrical system.

You just know that B&Q or Prakitka on the mainland (Other DIY stores are available) will not have that type or shape of bulb on Christmas eve when you want it.

At the bottom of the Christmas box will be a tried and trusted friend - The advent calendar.

Its been in use since your school days, its hard now to get those little chocolate squares to fill it. Especially here on a Greek Island and no sign of Mr Cadbury ...

Then it hit me - That Eureka moment ...

A new Adult advent calendar, for those cool December evenings. One that will capture the attention of the adults rather than the kids.

So a quick trip to Carrefour, and some Numbers and a Kores stick (Pritt stick) and here is the prototype - and you heard about it on my grapevine ...



Order ASAP for late November delivery - Sorry - Only over 18's with a corkscrew can apply ...

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Wet and windy ...

Not the best morning for the townsfolk to return from Kounistra this morning either ...



Very autumnal and some very heavy rain overnight, and its remained dull and damp all day ...


... still we had a great October this year so no complaints. Likewise Greek TV said thunderstorms but they stayed on the mainland and to the south of us ...

So on with the logs, and light the fire ...


Then perhaps ...


With a piece of ...


You see, its just that kind of day ...






Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Panagia Kounistra ...

Today is the festival day of the Panagia Kounistra ...



Its going to be a very wet day and a very muddy walk over the hills. Its been raining overnight, and heavily since 5am - Not the best day for a walk in the woods ...

Monday, 19 November 2012

The eve of the Panagia ...

Its been a quiet day here in town ...

The weather has been cool and grey, and a hint of rain in the air. Its the eve of Panagia Kounistra, when the townsfold take a pilgrimage across the hills to Kounistra.

Today the Tries Hieraches church has been made ready for one of the most important religious festivals here on the island.

At the moment its fingers crossed as tomorrow, which is an island holiday. The weather looks like its going to be wet. Not the best to be following the old paths up across the town, and up into the hills.

Tonight down in Peloponnese its big Thunderstorms on the radar, so hopefully the worst of the weather will miss us up here in the Sporades. We shall see ...

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Put the lights back on (2) ...

Ouch ...




Mixed bag ...

Another day, where the weather does not know what to do ...

However the odes for this week are not good, looks like a few wet stormy days ahead as autumn sets us up for winter.

The forecast for Tuesday, looks less than promising ...



The woodburner is still warm this morning, and there is still a glow from the remaining embers of a Taverna Alexandros - Mulberry log.

Looks like England have the wobbles in the cricket, just as the priest at Tries Hieraches church bells tolled, the 'come to church' message - Trott was caught behind for 17.

I am looking for a new food mixer, I have agreed to make a cake for the Table top sale in aid of the Dog shelter - Which is taking place on the 9th December at Milos taverna.

This one will be available shortly, OK if the cake is a success and we go into mass production following the event ...

 

Further proof evident - if it were needed, that the mighty Pietersen cannot play left arm spin, and a fine fighting 100 by captain Cook. Who becomes the first man in test history to score centuries in his first three tests as captain. However there is still so much to do ...




Saturday, 17 November 2012

Put the lights back on ...

Just as Australia beat England at Twickenham it all went dark ...


So after looking outside at a pitch black street, I knew we were not alone. One of the things about living on a Greek island is the power cuts. Often unannounced and sometimes extremely annoying. From the voices in the darkened streets, this one was no different ...

After I had wandered round the house, with my torch, and fired up the camping lamps, and lit the candles it was quite cosy. How long will this one be we thought - Saturday evening - an all nighter we wondered ...

After an hour my neighbour called, and came round for a cup of tea. Better we all sit in the dark together, rather than all alone. So just as i put the saucepan on the camping stove, the power came back.

It seems one of the islanders, driving their car on the ring road, has come into contact with an electricity pylon. They have walked away from the crash, and also reduced our electricity bills for a few hours, as well as blacking out most of the island ...

The lights are back on, we are still at home, and well done the inventor of airbags ....


Friday, 16 November 2012

The sound of ...

Leather on willow ...

er no - its Junior, (No school today - Strike), and the lack of understanding why there are no cartoons, on the talking box, as dad is watching the cricket.


Above is a photo of the man with the most pointless job in the world. Cutting the grass, on a grass-less wicket on the driest piece of earth, in the driest state in India.

To my learned friend in Sifnos via Guildford, I can confirm, that the beaten out Fray Bentos tin, and coat hanger, with a milk bottle top LMB - the reception works fine - Unlike the commentary via the London studio, or a tower block flat with a dodgy sofa - So TMS via the web is the way to go ...

Lunch in Ahmedabad. India are 410-4 with Pujara 133* and Yuvraj 72

Swan will bowl all week on this flat track, Pietersen bowling too - yet Monty is in the dressing room twiddling his fingers, rather than weaving his magic with the ball. 

Here it is raining, lightly - Chance of rain to save England - Same as a white knight writing off the debts here in Greece. 

PS - Great quote from a teacher in one of the cities - '17 demonstrations planned in Greek cities on Saturday, bring your own Molotov' ...

Later: Swann has five, Monty Nil, Broad approaching a hundred without a wicket & India fast approaching 500 ...

Much later ...

Lets not talk about the cricket, and its tipping it down here on the rock. 

Tonight I cooked dinner (Roast chicken) and as usual there is a lot of washing up. Its turned cool so the mighty woodburner is in use this evening. A cheap glass of red warming by the furnace, and perhaps the last of my 'Seriously strong cheddar' will be consumed tonight (Disaster) ...

The street is well and truly perfumed with woodsmoke, on what looks like a rather damp evening.

What a night ...


Thursday, 15 November 2012

Cosy ...

Thats the house this morning ...

After firing up the woodburner last night its still cosy in here. The old stones act like a radiator, where as concrete houses radiate cold - like a fridge ...

We were promised rain for the next few days. The skies cannot make up their mind at the moment. One minute blue sky then the next dark clouds. However last nights breeze has abated, and we await further developments ...

No school today for junior, they are on strike. Two half day strikes Tue/Wed & full day strikes Thu/Fri - There was me thinking children are the future. More and more people say to me, they want to leave, and who can blame them ...

Grounded today so had better get on with those jobs, I have been putting off, sore eyes or not. England have taken a wicket in the test match, however Sewag looks like he will bat all series - Oh dear ...

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Tonight's the night ...

After spending a week listening to rumbles ...

Not from the earth below and the active seismos, but at street level from deliveries of firewood here in town. Today even here in town, the streets were perfumed with woodsmoke, as little old ladies kept warm in their houses.

The air temperature has cooled and even though my neighbours, have had their woodburner going for weeks.

Tonight I went through the  final woodburner pre-lighting checklist ...

External flue cleaned - Check
Internal flue cleaned - Check
Ash tray cleaned - Check
Paper and Kindling loaded and ready - Check
Dry Logs (Small) loaded - Check
Firelighters loaded and ready - Check
Carbon monoxide alarm, cleaned and tested - Check

We were 'Go' for final countdown ...

So after what I must say, was a pretty good Beef Stroganoff this evening, anointed with the last of my Metaxa 3* (Somehow, I made that baby last over a year) some cheese to follow, with a lovely glass of red - It was time to light the blue touchpaper ...

20:00hrs - Ignition sequence start - 10 - 9 - 8 - 7 ..

20:05hrs - 6 - 5 - Prosonuma lit - 4 ...

20:06hrs - 3 Main engine start - 2 - Ignition - 1 - Engines burning ...

20:08hrs - The Mighty woodburner is roaring, we have heat, and as I leant out of the window and looked up, we have smoke clear of the chimney tower ...

21:06hrs - All the washing is now dry, It had been on the balcony most of the day and was back in the house damp - Not a good sign, those days are at an end for the foreseeable future ...

Now a pat on the back, another glass of well earned red, and the Masterchef skills challenge ...

Kalee nichta apo Skiathos ...


Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Todays amble ...

This mornings stroll took me down Papadamatis street ...

Lots of lovely vegetables on sale once again outside Photo Planet. Bagged some lovely radishes, and bell peppers, from the lady seller. I tend to buy from them in rotation, they both look on with a hopeful is it my turn today. I bought a lovely crisp lettuce too ...

The fish man had lots of lovely prawns, on the back of the truck, codfish and what looked like small tuna. Very tempted, but we are a fish free house at the moment.

Into the post office for plenty of banter to collect a parcel ...

Its another round of strikes this week, so today and tomorrow public service offices stop work at Midday. That must be awkward for those still lodging their unemployment claims, at the town hall.

So back to school at just before midday to collect junior, with a nasty sore red eye from an infection. Something we now are both sharing - with red but not bright eyes ...

Later a brisk walk up to Asteras supermarket in search of something different, and watched the 12 Apostles trawler land its catch, whilst the Express Skiathos berthed, en route back to Volos.

Tonight, practicing Chemistry with some butter, flour and eggs, on a new recipe for a cake. It worked, but the plate was not big enough, so a broken cake - much to the delight of a certain member of the household ...
Next up masterchef and time to rest those bright eyes ...

Monday, 12 November 2012

The Mulberry tree ...

The most famous Mulberry tree on Skiathos, had its annual trim today ...

Its not the usual way that you see the most famous waiter on Skiathos, but today Alex was ready for a different kind of work down at Taverna Alexandros.


Meanwhile up above, there were serious decisions being taken ...


A little bit here, a little bit there, whilst Matoula walked underneath, oblivious to the 'General' with a chainsaw up yonder, dropping branches and trunks from three metres above ...


Still the best waiter in town - waiting for a new branch to be delivered to terra firma ...


So after Alex had departed, the next wave of the recycling project commenced. With my trusty chainsaw most of the trunks were recycled into logs for the open fire. Neighbours appeared and began to strip the leaves from the long branches, so that they could be dried for kindling.

I had to work quick as there were admiring eyes, being cast both on pile of new cut logs and the chainsaw. Logs secured and a quick sweep up, returning the old town square to its pristine appearance 

Here is the mulberry tree after its trim. Note one of the neighbour's checking out some prime Mulberry wood for the winter fireplace ...



 So thanks to our friends at the taverna, for replenishing my wood store, and those of our neighbours too ...


Sunday, 11 November 2012

Farewell to Malcolm ...

The island is a much quieter place tonight ...

Malcolm Rosemary, Dave and Sue have left the rock. The islands best party team, in ages have departed for home via Athens this afternoon. The birthday party to end all parties, came to a final stop this lunchtime at the Old Port Cafe - Over morning coffee ...

Appropriately they spent their final few hours, as they have most days this weeks - Frying in the late autumn sunshine.

They have done their best to re-float the island economy, this last week and I am sure many people will be missing them over the next few days. Perhaps a few will now close for winter as a result.

Its been a great week to be among friends here, topped by Margaret's excellent harvest of Olives and a mighty fine olive Oil as a result - Its a shame more do not try the autumn leap, and enjoy the fun ...

Tonight my lovely neighbour appeared on my doorstep, with a cake baked for me.


How lucky am I, and am now planning something to return on the plate, in the next few days ...




Remembrance Sunday 2012 ...

11.11.11 on Skiathos ...

Around thirty friends gathered this morning to observe the two minutes silence. Alan read the 'Ode of Remembrance'
We stood together islanders and guests, to observe the two minutes silence. Then Alan read a poem, regarding the meaning and colours of the poppy emblem, as explained to a child ...


Then as the sun set this afternoon ...


The hand made wreath, which was laid on the Katsonis mermorial ...



Saturday, 10 November 2012

A message from Margaret ...

'10.11.12. Another day of numbers. My oil received a quality score of 0,8 oξήτοτα, which was best quality of any oil being processed that day (on Skiathos). We gathered 973 kila olives to yield 215 kila quality oil. I am very proud of my land and my team. I feel very fortunate. We celebrated with καλή παρέα'

Footnote: Having just walked across the village with 15 litres of this nectar of the gods - I can confirm that the 'girl done good' and the locals are impressed by the score on the can.

Likewise, I am impressed by the pain in the arms, but the workout has done me good ...

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Out and about ...

Weather has changed again ...

The sun is out and the gale, has almost blown itself out. On my walk to 'liberate' some fresh rosemary for the lamb, I noticed these lovely autumn berries ...


They look very inviting, good enough to eat - but I do not know if they are, so they stay in situ ...

Having raided gently pruned the rosemary bush, I returned home via Dimitris grocery. Here he has some great home grown Butternut squash. A few minutes later, it was prepped for the oven ...


Remove the seeds, and fibrous tissue, add some Olive oil, and after 50 minutes at 180 degrees it will be soft and sweet. The Kitchen will smell heavenly of roasted butternut squash ...


Scoop out the flesh, then a quick whiz in the blender, a splash of cream, add salt & pepper. You will then have a 'Skiathian' Butternut squash soup ...





Wild night on the rock ...

After yesterdays fun and games, the weather finally joined the party ...

Around 7pm the wind started to increase, and the bougainvillea opposite, was waving around in the streetlight. Just after 9pm the rain came as a torrent hammering on the roof. It was time for the first time this autumn, to batten down the hatches and secure the shutters against the stormy weather outside.

Returning from outside, rather wet, I spent an enjoyable hour watching Masterchef - The professionals. Its my favourite TV programme  and the team from Le Gavroche, Monica Gallieti & Michel Roux jnr, making the Chefs sweat as they put them through their tests ...


I was lucky enough to dine at Le Gavroche once, and meet Michel Roux jnr. The restaurant is lovely and the service and attention to detail demonstrated absolutely to perfection - Hence a well earned two Michelin stars. Who knows - one day maybe again another visit ...

Here the wind howled and rain hammered against the roof for nine hours.Waking me a few times in the night too. The rain stopped as swifly as it came, at 7am. However the streets are dry but the gale continues unabated.

My Bouganvillia is down, almost to eye level, so have had to trim it back, this morning. Likewise my absent neighbour who leaves hers to nature, I have had to trim hers too, before someone gets injured ...

Flying Cat 6 turned back from Skopelos earlier, and returned to Patiri - Must have been well rough out there this morning. However it seems the Flying Cat is trying again to berth at Agontas, and to complete the trip to Volos. The Express Skiathos ferry is running very late, on its way down the gulf from Volos too.

We were invited out for lunch today, but are grounded, as the cold has taken its toll on Junior, and SWMBO is very poorly. I have bought a shoulder of lamb, will braise it is some red wine. Its marinating at the moment in oil, lemon, wild mint, oregano and garlic - Wholesome winter food ...


I also have another pot on the go, this time its some Olives and my attempt to cure them in a champagne bucket !


Later: FC6 has made it to Skiathos arriving at 11.40am, around three and a half hours late. Brave souls boarding, for a bumpy run to Volos, just as the Express Skiathos turns the corner at Trikeri on the radar. 

The sun has popped its head out intio the gale, Its one of those days - 'A glass of red, a bar of chocolate, and a good book' - but maybe a little later ...



Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Lunch with Malcolm at Kabourelias ...

The longest Birthday party ever continues unabated ...


Tom and Andrea do their best ...



Malcolm Inspects the troops ...


Wednesday Hump day ...

Hump day is the middle of the week. Its downhill to the weekend ...

Change in the weather coming ...


However there is a bright side to the recent good weather. 

More 'marmalade' ripening in the autumn sun. ...


Obama wins ...

Due to a huge swing in the vote, from the USA ex pat Greeks ...


Photo widely circulated by our friend, of the blog, and courtesy of Elle ...

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

The two most important ...

Methods of transport here in Skiathos. ...


Feeling rough ...

Despite being blessed with wonderful weather, junior has imported into the house, the mother of all colds. Yesterday, I had to visit the health centre, to see the pediatrician. This usually turns junior into a screaming bundle of arms and legs. However today the lovely Doctor could get away with everything ...

Instantly feeling better having escaped from the Doctors office, recovery was undertaken in the childrens play area on a gorgeous afternoon, where the sun was burning both the eyes and skin in equal measure.

Walking back through the village, the bougainvillea and firecracker flowers were everywhere ...



A great view as we walked down the steps towards the old harbour. Note the pyracantha, covered in berries. A warning of winter to come perhaps ...



Back home Junior ran out of steam, and flopped into bed. I became increasingly conscious of the aching in my own arms and legs.

Not a good sign, after Junior has spent three days having big hugs, and coughing and sneezing in my face. Without doubt, the worst colds I have experienced, have been gifted from Junior ...

Last night, I should have been helping Malcolm celebrate his special birthday. However I am grounded, as Mamma is away on the mainland. So raised a glass of Lemsip to Malcolm and Rosemary, Margaret (Champion Olive collector - 2013) and the gang.

No doubt they will have had a great night, and me a sleepless one ...




Monday, 5 November 2012

Remember this Sunday is Remembrance day ...

I’ll be remembering the fallen at 11 o’clock on Sunday, with our island friends, and visitors on the Paralia.

We will assemble, as usual, on the old port by the submarine memorial to remember those who have died in conflicts around the world.

Bob's Bar will be providing a buffet afterwards.




You can send an electronic message too if you are a user of Facebook or Twitter on the link below ...

https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/547-two-minute-silence/invited/67363

Another milestone: Post number 700 ...

Willkommen auf meinem blog ...

A very busy day on the blog yeterday ...

A special welcome to our new friends from Germany. No doubt researching their 2013 holidays, here on the rock ...


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Sunday, 4 November 2012

Island good nature by Vasilis Koralis ...

One summer here on Skiathos Island my very good friend Ray Morris was on a scuba diving excursion (Ray teaches scuba diving during the summer) when he suddenly spotted one of those large turtles (probably a Caretta-Caretta) struggling on the surface of the sea. This turtle had unfortunately swallowed a fishing hook attached to a line which was also attached to a rather large log. The turtle could not dive because of the log and was struggling to free himself on the surface of the water. Ray called out to the Greek owner of the boat (I forget his name) and pointed to the desperate turtle in a obvious state of distress. Ray, instantly dove into the sea, reached the turtle, cut the line attached to the log and carefully brought this large and helpless sea creature onto the boat. The Greek Coast Guard was phoned and told of this predicament. The scuba diving boat returned immediately to the Skiathos harbor where a Flying Dolphin hovercraft was waiting and the turtle was transferred onto the Flying Dolphin and rushed to the port of Agios Konstandinos where an ambulance, yes, an ambulance was waiting to take the turtle to Athens. Upon arriving in Athens the turtle was then transferred to the animal hospital there. A successful operation was performed removing the hook which was lodge deep into the turtle's stomach and the lucky turtle was then returned to the sea. Happy ending and a good example of how some Greeks react to an animal in distress. Bravo, Ray.

Photo's courtesy of Ray Morris




Saturday, 3 November 2012

Sometimes ...

You just have to get out of the house ...

Just sit down, have a beer and read a book - Chill out time


So 61 pages and a beer later, I was feeling pretty chilled, unlike some of my friends, who had enjoyed a swim in the warm waters at Koukounaries this afternoon ... 

Yes feel free to check the calendar - It is November 3rd ...

A good friend and avid reader of the blog - Malcolm, has landed in Athens this afternoon, on his way here tomorrow. No stranger or ever in fear of winter travel. He has taken the train from Middlesborough to Gatwick, a night in the travelodge, flown down to Athens, and a further night in a hotel, before flying here tomorrow.

All that whilst escorting friends on their first trip, to celebrate a special birthday ...

Blogging services may be disrupted during the next week, as Malcolm likes to enjoy his time here on the rock ...