Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Its been a funny old year ...

What a difference a few hours make.

You start the year with lots of energy and finish it tired.

This morning my lovely neighbour, left me a present on the doorstep - A bag of kindling for the fire. She was out in the street at 5am, tidying up after her mainland holiday. Part of that process ensuring we will be keeping warm.

At breakfast time the children started knocking and playing their triangles and singing carols. Its to announce the coming of St Vasilis, to bless the house for the following year. If you want to know more about the traditions then the 'Living in Greece' article here is a great place to start.

Christmas arrived - Our parcels were at the post office, Two of the parcels took 28 days from the UK, One week of that getting up here from Athens. I wished Pappa Yorgos Καλή χρονιά! and he seemed fine about that ...

On the way back I went into the bakery in Papadamatis street. The place was buzzing and full of customers, all wishing each other Καλή χρονιά! The Bakers wife, who runs the shop, gave me a gift for Junior, and a calendar of events for the monastery at Evaggelistra.

I bought us another festive twist loaf - This one for the new year baked with a 50 cent piece hidden within for good luck. Junior found the hidden coin, when I sliced it, and also ran off with the baked walnut too. So has been full of life ever since.

The fish stall was doing a good trade, and had some decent sized codfish (Hake) and a nice sized Ray. The butchers shop was packed, and what seemed like a hundred conversations - taking place all at once.

Its been a cool grey, and rather gloomy day here today. Heavy skies but although dark, no hint of rain. We will be having a quiet New Years eve tonight. Being parents that is what you do.

Hopefully the guys with shotguns, will enjoy their fun out in the streets - Seeing in the new year around town, with a festive volley of gunfire as usual ...

My New Year resolution, Is not to make any New Years resolutions at all this year ...

So until next year Καλή χρονιά! (Good year) to friends and family near and far. To Sifnosman and Barty the Parianos, and the guys over on Skopelosnews - and especially to those of you who I have met this year, like David, Marice, Andrea and Katherine down in Cape Town, and those of you, who have been in touch - either in person or via the blog. You along with the hundreds that visit 'The Skiathian' each day, make it all worthwhile ...

Skiathian, SWMBO & Junior
On a small island in the aegean, and all the best for 2014 ...




Monday, 30 December 2013

Friends on the island ...

There will be a memorial service this afternoon, for Roy formerly of the 'Rooftop Bar'

The service will be at at 3:30pm, at St Georges Church on the lake ...

Later Update:

Around forty friends on the island gathered at the church to remember Roy. Hope the photo below, taken after the service captures the moment for those far away ...

ΑΓΙΟΣ ΓΕΩΡΓΙΟΣ - Σκιάθος ...

Sunday, 29 December 2013

A beautiful day ...

To be here this morning, on Sunny Skiathos ...

The winds have shed the Bougainvillea of most of the leaves overnight. A quick neighbourly sweep up this morning, under the watchful eyes of the ladies in black.

I have been busy in the kitchen this morning, a busy afternoon ahead.

Junior is very excited today - Cabin fever after the rain.

Trevor did well yesterday with the photos. 583 visits yesterday. So who can identify the rest of them?

Later update:

A very enjoyable lunch here, with friends,  and now enjoying the afterglow of a glass or two of a Boutari Merlot. The woodburner is warming us, with some Olivewood, and the TV doing its best to entertain.

Chelsea won, and its probably best not to mention the cricket, on what has been a lovely sunny day here on the rock ...


Saturday, 28 December 2013

Battened down ...

Currently enjoying our second day of very wet weather ...

Thanks to Steve the Kebabman, yesterday was the 'second day of the Skiathos Beer festival' It was the Cross Bay - Sunset Blonde that was tried, and tested here in what are 'English conditions' - Cool grey and damp ...

A really nice light refreshing beer, that hit the spot whilst watching a DVD in the afternoon to the sound of raindrops on the roof.

557 of you avoided the sales, and read the blog yesterday, 464 the day before - still no takers for the photo quiz though. Surely you know some of them, I know you like them, after all plenty of the photos, were downloaded to PC's ...

Should be sunny here again tomorrow, cannot wait. So before that, off to splash around in the puddles. Its time for a stroll to the bakery ...


Friday, 27 December 2013

Skiathos Airport expansion update (3) ...

For my friend in Leigh on Sea - Notice anything different ?



To date the works involve leveling of acquired land, and ground clearance. There have been huge amounts of earth removed, and relocated across the island over the last five months.

This work is in preparation for the taxiway and aircraft parking stands.

As yet the work does not involve or have any apparent impact, on the infrastructure of the airport, or the extension of the runway apart from the land clearance.

What you can see is the hill of earth being stored/landscaped. This may be earth being saved for the planned extension of the runway northwards, at a later date in the project.

All content, including Photographs, graphics, text, © The Skiathian 2010-2013. All rights reserved

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Boxing day afternoon ...

Where Skiathian SWMBO & Junior went next ...

Photo 1
Photo 2
Photo 3
Photo 4
Photo 5
Photo 6
Photo 7
Photo 8
Photo 9

Who can name them all - But if you really love Skiathos ...

PS: Better batten down the hatches, bad weather coming our way these next few days ...

All content, including Photographs, graphics, text, © The Skiathian 2010-2013. All rights reserved

How was your Christmas ?

Thanks for the messages from afar, good to hear from you all ...

Christmas eve, and a kilo of fresh prawns, were made into the biggest Prawn cocktail salad, I have ever seen. Some lovely traditional Christmas bread. This one from the bakery in the centre of Papadamatis street.



Christmas Day, We went Greek this year, and had Pork for Christmas dinner. A turkey is too much, and a waste for us - so we wanted to try something different. Easier said than done here, as we wanted some Pork with crackling. Now here in Greece that's not the way its done. The skin, which is what becomes the crispy bit, is removed.

Our friendly local butcher, stocks Pork from Skiathos, but kindly arranged to get some sent over from a friend on the mainland. So on Christmas eve, I collected it, from our own 'named hook' in the shop. The locals all casting an eye, on what the Englishman had hidden in the fridge.

I am not the greatest fan of pork, but have to say its probably the best Christmas meal that I have had. Cooked slowly for four hours in the oven, stuffed with lots of garlic and sage that I picked here on Skiathos. Dried Thyme and Marjoram and was absolutely delicious.

Braised Red cabbage with apples, that was a tried and tested favourite. Half a cabbage makes enough for us to last a couple of days. As the recipe says you can freeze the rest. You already know about the shortage of dried fruits on the island, but the local carrefour had dried cranberries.

SWMBO picked out a recipe for Cranberry and Orange relish. That was fine but no way are we wasting €16 on a bottle of port. I modified the recipe, by just pressing the berries, and the finely chopped zest of a satsuma, and simmered in a couple of glasses of dry red wine. A little sugar to sweeten (Skiathian Port), and the berries absorded the liquid. Thats the first time ever, I have liked cranberries !

SWMBO makes a very decent mulled wine, a glass of that would probably do the job too.

I had bought fresh vegetables from the man who owns the riding school at Koukounaries, Cauliflower for SWMBO and Junior, (I cannot bare the things), and two huge Broccoli heads - very tasty indeed cooked then served with some Olive oil and balsamic vinegar added.

Dessert a Christmas Pudding, - Thanks to Simon and Donna. Then later a piece of Stilton from Malcolm which has been resting in the freezer.

Boxing day, and like everyone else, what to do next. Well no 4am queue for a bargain in a sale here. The clouds have cleared to reveal a nice blue sky. Perhaps we shall go for a walk, after all when you get a nice day here, you have to enjoy it ...

All content, including Photographs, graphics, text, © The Skiathian 2010-2013. All rights reserved


Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Early morning alarm call ...

From the church bells at Tries Hieraches at 5am ...

They came as a bit of a shock. They are ringing again right now at 08:30am. The air is so still, you can hear the acoustic hum off the bell. It hits that spot at ear level perfectly. Like a Tom and Jerry cartoon, when Tom has been hit on the head with a mallet ...

The 08:30am bell has brought a procession of very young children knocking on the door. All ringing triangles and singing a tune. Skiathian has prepared himself, and a jelly sweet is offered as a gift. Clearly the preferred option is hard cash.

So the early time spent making some Chicken liver pate for Christmas day. Then cooking and preparing a kilo of prawns. Yes it's going to be a fishy kind of day today.

Off to the bakery shortly, as there will not be any fresh bread - or anything else available until Friday. No 6am Boxing day sales here to worry about either.

A good opportunity for the islanders, to enjoy some quality time.

This afternoon, the Brits will be meeting up for a celebratory glass of beer or wine. Today's start point is the Mythos bar, at 1pm. A procession round the cafes and bars, to say thanks to their island hosts, and to wish everyone a Happy Christmas. Likewise to raise a toast to absent friends ...

Meanwhile preparations will be taking place, for Christmas lunches across the island. Plenty of mentions for delicacies, being prepared, and at least one Christmas day curry.

More voices and jingles in the street ...

Monday, 23 December 2013

Todays the day ...

To visit some establishments ...

The post office: Another fruitless search for the parcels from the UK?

Mission - Fail as per the post above -  Another fruitless search

The optician: I think its now 6 weeks for a repair, perhaps they have broken them up for parts for others in need. Every time I call in, they say "we will call you" ...

Mission - Fail 

The fruit and veg stalls: Quality produce from the island. I am after a nice red cabbage.

Mission - Accomplished, along with a Broccoli the size of a football!

Fish man: Wonder what will be available. Prawns would be good, but a nice fish would be better. Perhaps some Marithas to fry with some garlic sauce ...

Mission - Accomplished, Large prawns

The supermarkets: The Brussels sprout free zone-However every other type of frozen vegetable seems to be available. I need some Black Olives to make some Olive bread.

Mission - Accomplished, Lovely soft Black Olives. Maniolis who has the small shop at the top of Papadamatis street, by the Bourtzi Hotel was a little sad this morning when we spoke. Later after he had been beseiged by Brits having stocked with Brussel Sprouts, he was a very happy man indeed ...

The butcher: Pick up some meat ordered from the mainland.

Mission - Accomplished, Choice of two cuts, we have our own named hook in the butchers walk in fridge - collect in the morning ...

A couple of hours to fit this in, and take junior to the playground. Then meet friends for coffee, and later make some home made pate for Christmas. I should also shuffle the woodpile, and clean out and prepare the woodburner.

Mission - Accomplished, after a lovely afternoon chatting with friends in the sunshine. We were lucky to see a Monk seal swimming just outside the Old harbour. They were also treated to a vociferous support for Skiathian's comments on how damp and nippy it has been from island friends

What do you do in winter? they ask me all summer ...

Tomorrow is Christmas eve, I may finally get to treat myself to one of Steve (Kebabman's) beers.

7am and Pappas Yorgis is ringing the church bells, telling me to get on with it

Later update:

As you can see its been a busy day, the caffeine will keep me going for a while yet. Great sunset tonight, followed by the chill as the sun dipped.


Anyone fancy a swim with a Monk Seal ...

All content, including Photographs, graphics, text, © The Skiathian 2010-2013. All rights reserved


Sunday, 22 December 2013

Choke or Freeze ...

Tonight - 'Keep Talking Greece' reports that the Greek Health Ministry issued a statement on Sunday, with recommendations to vulnerable groups due to increased air pollution (smog). After another weekend with freezing cold nights, and fire places at full work, air pollution has apparently reached dangerous levels especially in Thessaloniki. - See more: here ...

I hope the weather conditions are better, for the visitor in Erpendorf in the Tirol ...

Christmas fun on the harbour ...

Its December 22nd so lets all party again ...

After yesterdays Birthday bash, no excuse needed for a nice glass of Mulled wine, or some warmed Tsipouro, with honey. Served here by a young man to passers by for just €1 a shot ...


Of course there will always be a Souvelakia stall, very good it was too ...



Balloons for the children ...

In fact this is roughly the view friends flying in this evening will see. Most of them are probably crossing Evia, at around 4500 feet at the moment, on the Athens flight path.

Each one sent on its way by a little person, with tears in their eyes, as the balloon made its way upward from their grasp ...

Juniors round Santa balloon, with friends before its flight ...
Music: A fantastic piano solo by Themis to put us in the mood ...

Themis ...
Music: A duet with Vasilis Koralis ...

Themis and Vasilis ...
Bravo to the guys for an excellent performance in the crisp sunny air. We may not have a 'White Christmas' but those of us here will have a 'Skiathos Christmas' instead. Here we have this lovely view, after dark to enjoy ...


This year minus two of the blue Christmas trees, on the old harbour. Perhaps they were chopped as an austerity measure, along with the loudpeakers for Christmas music in Papadamatis street ...

All content, including Photographs, graphics, text, © The Skiathian 2010-2013. All rights reserved

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Χρόνια πολλά για μένα ...

Happy Birthday to me ...

In accordance with my own tradition, I am having a day off. So its off for a nice cup of Mint tea, and a slice of cake with SWMBO & Junior ...

Christmas Opening times:

Same as every other day - apologies for any inconvenience ...



Friday, 20 December 2013

Another one for ...

The non believers ...

Yes we do have Frost here in Skiathos this morning ...


The waning full moon cast its spell, last night aided by the clear skies ...


It did result in a nip in the air, at the Papadamatis street stalls ...


It looks like someone's wood pile may be up for rent ...


But my fish supper is nicely chilled, even after their 2 degrees 'walk' across town ...

Melanouri ...
Melanouri (Saddled bream) 
'The Melanouri (Saddled bream) is identified by its black spot at the root of the tail, it is silver and it has about 10 thin stripes from head to tail. They eat sea plants and live in clean and deep waters. They are fished by fishing lines and fishing nets. They have a very good reputation for the taste they give'

Footnote:
If you encounter the Melanouri, on your travels its absolutely lovely. Like a smaller Tsipoura, but with a slight pink colour, to the cooked fish and a delicate flavour ...

All content, including Photographs, graphics, text, © The Skiathian 2010-2013. All rights reserved

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Insane pleasures ...

That's got you thinking ...

At the moment it seems to be pulling splinters out of my hands. Last nights wood delivery, has resulted in a fair few splinters in the palms. However each one removed, must have a 'it was worth it' muttered under the breath ...

I moved the wood twice to get it stacked, along with the rest of the previous pile being relocated to make room for the fresh (and very wet) delivery. So this morning was justifiably feeling a little sore. Likewise stretched a few muscles, that have not seen action for some time.

At least I now feel we are ready for the worst of the winter weather, should it come our way over the next month or so.

Someone once said, 'a friend in need is often best avoided' but that's not the case ...

The other morning, I passed a neighbour looking up at the lemons in her tree. I looked at them too, only for her to say 'when it snows they will be no good'

I said 'well they look good' and she indicated they were too high ...

Too high - even for me ...
So with a full stretch, I managed to get a leaf, in my finger tips. That brought a twig, and a full lemon, bursting with citrus into my grasp. A shake of the branch, and another two let go of their attachment, to mother nature.

One moment she said, and scuttled off, with me still at full stretch, as she headed off into her house ...

Anyone passing now, and there were a few - probably thought, I was up to no good. She returned with a chair as ancient as the house. 'Get up' she said ...

So standing on the frame of a rickety chair, leaning over a wall, and on what looked like a very flimsy roof - I did as I was told, and started picking, and disturbing a few more from up above.

Back on Terra Firma, a few minutes later, I handed over the lemons, and she was really pleased. I already had two for services rendered. However she insisted that I take some more ...

Lemon tart anyone ?
I departed for home, pockets full, and I must also come back in two weeks, to pick her some more.

It seems I have a date ...

All content, including Photographs, graphics, text, © The Skiathian 2010-2013. All rights reserved

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

School play ...

Junior is home from school ...

We made it home just in time before the heavens opened once again.

Our contribution - The cakes have been baked ready, for this afternoons Kindergarten party, which takes place after the Christmas play ...

Little cakes for little people ...
I just have to complete a few more read through's of the poem ...

Late Update:

It went off very well, Junior likes to dance and knows the moves. Great evening, in fact the warm up act was very good, an argument between two of the parents/grandparents.

It all settled down when the show started and the children took to the stage ...

Wednesday quiz: 

Q: What is the fastest running animal on the earth ?

A: The Cheetah - It can accelerate from 0 to 96.6 km/h (60.0 mph) in under three seconds, though endurance is limited:

Yes I thought so too - They told me at school, the answer is WRONG ...

The fastest running animal on the earth is the 'Greek Old Lady'

When the door to the cakes room opened at the school, just as the show finished. Two rows of them departed the assembly room at high speed. Some apparently having been present, for the 'post show buffet' at the performance the night before.

Plates piled high, like a first time visitor to an all inclusive resort. Some of the ladies in black, were last seen heading for the door and home ...

Our cakes disappeared before we could get into the room, so did the plate ...

When there is a party, there is no doubt the Skiathiti's and their 'international guests' do bake some excellent home made cakes. I would love to show you a photo of them, but the bun fight that took place in the scramble for sweet cakes and pastries, would probably have resulted in a broken camera ...

Take it from me - they tasted as good as they looked, well the left overs did ...

All content, including Photographs, graphics, text, © The Skiathian 2010-2013. All rights reserved


Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Damp and damper still ...

Its a very wet one here in Skiathos ...

A time to experience trepidation: Its that split second moment when the rainwater, passes over the ankle and into your boot. That was my experience on leaving the house. It was raining so hard, you could not see the approaching Proteus ferry as it arrived from Skopelos.

I have visited the two most un-Christmas like establishments in Greece, this morning. They are our two island supermarkets, almost lacking in seasonal fare. In fact as chilly an offering, as that within their freezer cabinets.

I bumped into another ex-pat local heading for distant shores shortly. With my trench foot, now reaching a dampness around knee level. I was severely tempted to ask if he had room in his case for me.

These last few days, I have felt like going ashore. Yes to the mainland, and perhaps even somewhere else.

Lorenzo from Lo & La restaurant posted some lovely photos of the markets, and some very nice looking food, on his FB page. Seems he is back in Milan for 'Buon Natale' ...

I know where I would rather be right now, and enjoying a Parmigiana risotto, or an Ossobuco, with a nice glass of Barolo - Would be right up there at the top of the list ...

When in Greece do like the Greeks. At Christmas leave the islands and go to the mainland. At Pasca leave the mainland and go to the islands. Sounds strange to all you Skiathos lovers, but the exodus has begun in earnest. Both ex-pat and locals, are heading away suitcases loaded.

The next one from distant shores, to say 'ah but it is Skiathos' will have their IP address immediately bared from the blog :)

Those that remain here do make the effort, here is an example of a lovely hand made door wreath.

Bravo ...
I do hope the owner of the door wreath, has enjoyed the festive 'Black Pudding' that I gave them last week. Perhaps its brought out some more creative talent, not that it was needed ...

The kitchen here is busy with the preparation of a test batch of muffins, for tomorrows Christmas plays at the school. In fact if the aroma is anything to go by its a good bake. My T&A has been posted on the fridge door. It mentions charging the camera, but strangely not loading the memory chip - (Resulting in a brisk walk home on OXI day, to fetch the missing chip)

It should be a great evening - so much effort has gone into the preparation by everyone concerned.

I leave you with this thought in your mind. Rainwater flowing down the street, in a torrent. Heavy raindrops on the roof, An ever decreasing woodpile, and for those who view the webcam - yes it is a great big muddy stain, that you can see in the harbour ...

Mmm - Banana muffins - 8/10 ...

All content, including Photographs, graphics, text, © The Skiathian 2010-2013. All rights reserved

Monday, 16 December 2013

Christmas has arrived ...

Yes it seems that way ...

Feeling a bit 'Jingle bells all the way' after a weekend of Christmas parties. Saturday was the first of the childrens school parties. We joined around 200 people young, and not so young for a party at the middle school.

Photo - Eleni Zlatoudi
Its a lot of fun, not much to do with Christmas, but a good way to meet up, have coffee, some lovely cake and the children have a great time. Mainly eating lots of sweet things and burning off a lot of energy.

In the middle is pass the parcel ...
Scary Santa gets stuck into the hanging sweets ...
Sweets for everyone ...
There were gifts for the children, as well as fun and games. Outside there was the Popcorn, and as at most events a really good Souvelaki stall, that made you feel quite hungry - Enough going on, even to keep the adults busy too ...

Sunday saw the annual Christmas Bazaar. Its a great event and gets everyone together, not just the children. Its organised by the International Womens club, and what a great day it is too.

The ladies run a childrens games room, in addition there is face painting, they make balloon animals and a lucky dip. 

Light sabre anyone ...
Take the bones out of that ...
Junior won two prizes in the lucky dip. A new toy ball, which is currently on its way to join its two summer friends over in Evia, after bouncing into the harbour. A Santa Claus fridge magnet, that Ho Ho Ho'ed itself off the fridge and smashed to pieces on the kitchen floor ...

At least the numerous bags of sweets, from the games room activities disapeared in the right direction, and for all the right reasons.

For the adults the classrooms are handed over to craft activities, charity stalls and the children themselves running stalls to raise money for school activities. One event they are trying to raise funds for is a school trip to Athens. Not an easy task as the schools are strapped for cash, and a severe lack of teachers.

Impressive hand made gifts ...
Tree decorations ...
Cakes for sale ...
Yes more Souvelakia ...
It was great to meet up with friends, enjoy a chat and a glass or two of mulled wine. It always amazes me how many of the locals know me. One of the old ladies giving me a hug and a cuddle. That's what its like here in the village ...

Its a friendly day and I always thoroughly enjoy it, I have been now five years on the trot, as well as on other winter visits. I would not miss it - after all - Its part of Christmas 'living on a small island in the Aegean' ...

All content, including Photographs, graphics, text, © The Skiathian 2010-2013. All rights reserved

Friday, 13 December 2013

Gloom ...

No not Greek Newspapers or the TV ...

The ************ at the Electric board, who turned off the power here in town, at 07:40 this morning. Now we know they are at work, its Friday and they want to finish early. But the rest of us are getting little people ready for school, having breakfast etc

Its good to have preparation for living in the third world, but at least wait until its light, and let us get the next generation ready for it ...

Very dark grey skies this morning, it looked like rain in the clouds - especially in the direction of Skopelos.

Tries Hieraches church was very busy, Just 12 days till Christmas day. A smile and a nod from Pappa Yorgos as we passed by.

Later the sun came out, but definitely a nip in the air, still it made it nice to get into the bakery in Papadamatis street. Fresh bread and a warm, up and some more Koubalides - Purely for research of course.

This afternoon the electricity went off again. I swiftly departed to pick up junior, and met up with a Greek friend who is very eager that we finish off a very special bottle of Oak aged tsipouro. We had a great time starting it a few weeks ago. The trouble is I know it will be fun, but tomorrow there is a party to attend. Sunday is the Christmas Bazaar.

Maybe we will have to postpone it again, which is a shame but I do have some nice fresh tuna, that would go with the tsipouro very well indeed ...


Thursday, 12 December 2013

A message from Pete & Kourabiedes ...

Its always good to hear from the friends of the blog ...

Pete (pwll) keeps in touch from time to time. He wrote to me yesterday, and I am sharing it here with his kind permission.

Had a trek across North Wales today, just for a wander along a quiet beach.  Bit of peace and solitude you might say.

Also a getaway from some of the hullabaloo that is the build up to Christmas around this part (Chester/Liverpool) of the world. Ended up on a beach down in the south west of the Isle of Anglesey, miles of sand, very peaceful, not a soul around. Wonderful long walk.


Came across this pile and thought of you with your winter fuel requirements. (Snowdonia in the background)


© Peter Williams
Unfortunately it was two miles back to the car and with the cost of bundling it up and sending via Royal Mail made the whole idea unworkable.

Anyway the reason I write is to thank you for the “blog” which I read without fail.
And to say “Have a good Christmas and New Year.”
Keep the blogs coming.

All the best,
Pete Williams (pwll)

Thanks Pete, for the feedback and a great photo of your part of the world ...

Out for a stroll down to the airport this morning. Coffee by the fire at MINT, then back to town.


The return of the cats to the 'Tries Hieraches' Nativity scene ...


Not a bad afternoon in prospect ...


The first Christmas cards in the mailbox, and on my return home these ...

Kourabiedes ...

Kourabiedes are my favourite Greek biscuit. I just cannot resist them, they are the best part of a Greek Christmas. How to make them - here ...

All content, including Photographs, graphics, text, © The Skiathian 2010-2013. All rights reserved


Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Sad story (2) ...

Please read this article from ENet English online newspaper ...

11/12/13 ...

Happy Human Race Day ...

{America has a day for everything} 11/12/13 - is the last time for 90 years the numbers in the date will line up consecutively in the day/month/year format. So the 11th day of the 12th month of the 13th year in the millennium. This calendrical sequence only happens 11 times a century.

It happens 11 years in a row and then it doesn't happen again for a further 90 years. So you will have to wait until 1 February 2103 for the dates to line up again

Hope you do something unique today ...

So what did you do ?

Well I was looking at someone else's photos of Skiathos. Elle a friend and reader of the blog, kindly asked to use one of my photos. You can see it on this link to her blog - 'Notes From an Endless Sea'

I grabbed the photo, just as Elle and Paul arrived on the harbour. You can see how pleased they were to be here, having travelled half the world to get here ...

Visit 'Notes From an Endless Sea' and get the view from the other side of the world ...


Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Let it snow ...

Quite interesting at the moment ...

Many of the Greek sites are showing pictures of snow scenes. Probably historic ones but in the lead up to Christmas, you always have one eye on next month. January can be really harsh weather wise.

One friend on the island has mentioned the snow word, hinting it may be on the way ...

Last night the open fire had its first taste of winter. This morning it was still giving off heat so was back in use again. Its colder here than in London at the moment. When the sun is out its great, when it dips its very chilly, and the houses drop in temperature very quickly.

In the streets of town, the fires are on all day long. We tend to just light ours of an evening, but can understand why, those that keep their home fires burning do so.

My learned friend in Surrey - Sifnosman has joined the pack, that have said that I have gone native. I am quite proud of that. I look forward to hearing how he keeps warm, down on that barren rock that is Sifnos. If he ever makes that winter trip he keeps promising himself :) ...

A woodburner is for life, not just for Christmas :) ...

I must say Sifnosman does have access to some impressive game, the quail looked delicious. The best that I can do is Wild Boar from the Pelion, and of course if you know the right people some wild Rabbit or a Pheasant ...

Back in the kitchen SWMBO has been rendering down pig fat for some delicacy. The frozen turkeys are now in at Carrefour. However we are thinking our Christmas lunch this year, will probably be Pork for a change. That is unless I can get my hands on a duck from a friend down the island ...

Now (Afternoon) its become very windy after a calm start to the day, with strange cloud formations on the horizon ...

Showers approaching ...
Tonight its started raining again, we have had both fires operational this evening - Its still nippy, a glass of red to keep out the cold, but it has been hat kind of day ...

Reminder to the photo sharers:

All content, including Photographs, graphics, text, © The Skiathian 2010-2013. All rights reserved

Monday, 9 December 2013

Enjoy the day ...

That's what they say, so that's what we did ...

Lovely few hours spent with friends yesterday enjoying the sunshine. However when the sun dipped, and the chill hit, we all headed home for the comforting warmth, of our respective woodburners.

You can clearly see Mount Dirphys, over on Evia, now has its snow cap on. Apparently the mountains on the Pelion also have their 'hats on' too ...

I have been chopping wood, and recycling it into the atmosphere, at an alarming rate these last few days. Saturday was my first burn all day - day. The Christmas tree, was put up, and decorated to Junior's specific instructions. Let the fun begin ...

Sunday evening was spent warming toes by the fire. However good it looks outside, there is a nip in the air too. The snowcaps on the mountains give the game away ...

The weather here is supposed to close in again tonight, with more high winds forecast. I have been up to Taxiacharis for water this morning. The air is clear with great views over to Skopelos and Alonissos, and sunshine blazing off the sea, like a golden fireball.

A further trip to the couriers offices, some queueing up at the bank. Some fresh bread, and a heartly vegetable soup for lunch. Next up a school run, after school classes and later a trip to the medical centre ...

No time to get bored here - enjoy the day ...

Back at base later, time to enjoy what is left of the evening ...


The open fire, lit for the first time this winter, the perfect way to recycle last years Mulberry wood ...

All content, including Photographs, graphics, text, © The Skiathian 2010-2013. All rights reserved

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Skiathos and Skopelos IKA offices are to close ? ...

Looks like the planned closure mentioned earlier this year is to proceed ...

Skopelos News are reporting via Skopelos online, that the offices, both here and on Skopelos, are to close wef Friday 13th December. Details here

A further step in centralising all island services, over on the mainland in Volos ...

Friday 13th currently seems to be the D-Day for island services ...

Word here is that the Proteus Ferry will continue in the new year with a revised timetable.
Currently the timetable only shows a service until Friday 13th December.

Here the island is being battered again with high winds. Very windy once again from the North. Grey heavy skies and the start of rain drops on the roof ...

Later Update: The winds sunsided during the day, but its been a chilly one. Today we kept the home fires burning enjoying the benefit of olive wood heat. Tonight, Pie and Chips 'Skiathos style' - Wild Boar from the Pelion, casseroled on the top of the woodburner in 'Fix Dark beer' - Wood mark 4, then baked in the oven - with a puff pastry topping, and a glass of red wine ...

Friday, 6 December 2013

The Bells ring out for ...

Saint Nikolaos ...

Xronia Polla to all the Nikos, Nikolaos, Nikolina, Nikoleta, Nikos, Nicholas, Nicolas, Nick's out there, on their name day. Its a beautiful crisp morning here on Skiathos. Clear blue skies. the sun has his hat on, and its probably a 'Santa Claus' one at that ...

Here the church bells have been ringing all morning, around town as the Nikos 'et all' head off to church up by the clock tower.

Whats it all about ? Well according to 'Betsy Barnard in the Skiathos Calender' it goes like this ...

Born at the start of the 4th Century, Saint Nikolaos was the protector of sailors. He also gave dowries to three girls who otherwise would not have married. - This giving of presents came to be associated with Christmas in the west, and his name was Americanised as 'Santa Claus' ...

My friends over on Skopelos News, have a slightly different version here ...

Here the children, when they arrived at school, found a Christmas tree in the foyer. It had sprung up overnight. The children were all invited to dress the tree with baubles, and a glittering star on the top of the tree. It was a delight to see such fun, on young faces ...

Thursday, 5 December 2013

A sad story ...

Please read this article ...

Its happening quite often, and will probably happen more often as winter bites. Even here on the island all the wood left laying around has vanished, Its all destined for peoples chimneys.

The supermarkets here are well stocked with Charcoal, so someone must be buying it. After all even though its been sunny today, its hardly barbecue weather. I was advised by one well known resident to use it in the woodburner, it keeps the fire going longer.

So this post is probably not what you want to read, but it may open your eyes, to what is happening here in Greece ...

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Surprise surprise ...

15:26pm and the sun has come out at last ...

A very dark and grey cold morning here once again. The only thing to do was stay indoors, and keep warm, so that is what we did - Well I did after the school run. That is apart from sorting out the wood pile, and getting some kindling prepared.

The mighty woodburner was given a deep clean, and has been loaded up ready to go again.

Its the season for soup, today Broccoli and in the absence of Stilton, some Danish 'Blue' cheese mixed in to it. Absolutely lovely and warmed the bones.

It must be cold, SWMBO has got the wooly hat and gloves out ...

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Battened down ...

It's been a stormy night ...

Not in the thunderstorm and lightning sense, but very strong winds and rain. Skopelos news reported last night ...

'Various weather forecast sites are predicting a storm overnight tonight (Monday), with winds estimated to reach 75kph, strong gale force 9 on the Beaufort scale. The worst of the weather will pass in the small hours of tomorrow morning, although heavy rains are expected this evening'

Well this time the weather forecast was right. Now they are a lot nearer the action than we are, friends on Alonissos must be feeling the full force of the winds. 

On this occasion we are sheltered from the gale, it's coming hard from the north east. However I can hear the howling of the winds as it gusts. (Note to self) I never want to live in a house that does not have shutters again. They keep out the worst of the weather, keep you warm in winter and cool in summer.

Only yesterday, I was reading of snowfalls in northern Greece. We have friends in Florina, and they had problems yesterday as a result of the snow.

Today will be another trawler free Tuesday, so no fresh fish again. The boats remained in port yesterday again too.

However my friend up in the Wirral, (who hates fish but eats our Hake - cleverly disguised as Codfish) will be pleased to know, the fire is still warm, and Arkalos red and white wine in Carrefour, was flying off the shelves yesterday at just €1 a bottle .... 


It helped that the new shopping baskets had finally arrived, and you no longer had to fight for one, from the eight left in the store at the tills. Talking of bargains, Last week's special offer of washing powder, was wiped from the face of the earth on Saturday. 

Strangely some of the corner shops, now seem to have a good supply of the same article this week but it's much more expensive. This week it's the Carrefour own brand on special, that one will be harder, for the island entrepreneur's to shift ...

It still looks like this winter on the rock,  is going to be a tough one ...

Later update:

Weather conditions have improved during the morning ...




So its now just 'rough' in the new harbour ...


Nea Limani 08:50am ...

Just after this photo was taken, the wind took my hat for around the fifth time this morning. Despite a valiant attempt, at a catch. This time the carry was around 40 metres. It ditched in a puddle the size of a lake. Nasa with the moonshots, and waiting USS Nimitz, could not have plotted it better back in the 60's ...

Nikos at the Nunki Observatory weather station advises: High wind gust 96.6km/hr - 10 bf

Thats why today the flying cat is riding out the storm in Glossa, and Proteus is still moored in Volos. Its going to be a quiet day in the port.

The €1 wine lake in Carrefour has evapourated overnight, watch out for that Arkalos cheeky red and white in the tavernas next summer. Unless its used for something else.
This mornings bargain was Honey - a scant resource even here - but an essential winter cold remedy. Two grabbed just before the locusts descended ...

13:00 Stop press:

Keep talking Greece report that trees have been brought down in Athens due to the weather, and that  in suburbs where trees were fallen, residents rushed with saws to get wood for their fire place ....

All content, including Photographs, graphics, text, © The Skiathian 2010-2013. All rights reserved