Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Dolphin Tuesday ...

Whatever you do - Do not say anything to Theo about Dolphins ...


Here he is again repairing huge holes in his nets, that have been torn to shreds, by Dolphins and Seals.


What is orange is the net, what is yellow - where his friends the dolphins, and seals have been.

Its been two days now so he has nearly finished, hopefully tonight, he can go fishing again. His friends the dolphins and seals will be waiting to see him cast his nets too ...

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

Monday, 29 April 2013

ANES Lines - Slight delay - Reported by Skopelos News ...

Slight delay - Reported by Skopelos News ...

ANES Lines has announced in a written statement that the ferryboat Proteus will not start working in the Sporades until the 10th of May (see below) We received the statement from Madro Travel who will sell the boat tickets for ANES Lines.
This is the (free) translation
Due to unforeseen bureaucratic procedures the running of our ship "F / F / B PROTEUS" on the line North Sporades is postponed to Friday, May 10.
Due to the workload at the concerned department and the May Day holiday, the certificates of the ship will not be ready before Holy Thursday afternoon, despite the fact that the ship has already completed its annual inspection and repair.
To avoid maximization of the problem but also because of the holidays that follow (Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday and Easter Tuesday) the online booking service will remain closed until Thursday, May 9.
In the case that the certificates will issued earlier the ship will immediately start its services and you will be informed.
For passengers that have issued tickets issued we take on the additional cost for a ticket with another ship; and we provide them with a free open ticket with our boat (passenger and vehicle).
The issue of free tickets also applies to passengers who have only made a reservation. We apologize for this unforeseen development.

'Due to unforeseen bureaucratic procedures' - What in Greece? - I am surprised ...

On the subject of boats, here is a view of the harbour getting busy ready for Summer. Note the beach taxis have arrived ready for work. Poseidon has taken up its berth too.



The first flight arrived today, I am advised by one gossip that the tourists went over to Skopelos. That  said quite a few 'white faces with children' dining on the harbour this evening, in summer wear ...

Message from Skopelos Man ...

All that satellite technology docked in the harbour, has once again been  been interfering with our TV signals ...

However if your TV dish is made, from an old Fray Bentos steak pie tin, coat hanger and a bent lid, what can we expect "This is Greece" ...

Despite this Skopelos Man has managed to get a message through to me, via the world communication services link.

He said ...

'Unmasked! Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later.

My other yacht is bigger than Roman Abramovich's...

Cheers, and thanks for a great chinwag yesterday. See you in May - and if
you and family ever find yourselves on Skopelos, we'll roll out the
Skopelosnews welcome mat - and then fit you up online!

'Two hopes and one of them is Bob' ...

However I have a rough idea of where his home base is, a Ghetto blaster and a Mamma Mia CD to broadcast my arrival ...


Sunday, 28 April 2013

Skopelos Man ...

Tonight, it was my pleasure to meet 'Skopelos Man' ...

John is one of the team of bloggers from SkopelosNews - who I often refer to, both here, and on the Skiathos Bulletin Board


We met up for a beer for the first time tonight, whilst he was on his way to Athens, after stepping off the ferry from Skopelos.

Now what Daphne and Tom over on Skopelos do not know, and neither did I tonight - Was that we all thought, he was heading off on this evenings, 'Puddle Jumper' to Athens.

However whilst studying his watch, and looking out to sea, over a glass of Mythos. He took a great interest in a brightly lit vessel, as it reversed slowly into the harbour.

J & G - Valletta
Popping over to check the name, for the latest edition of SkopelosNews, as I thought ...

I turned to head to the taxi rank, with him, as he picked up his bags - only to turn and see him striding towards J & G. Boarding with a 'Toodle pip' a cheery wave, and 'lets meet for a beer in a couple of weeks' ...


There he was gone - Leaving me to answer to the Skiathities, who my new friend was ...

Kalo Taxidi - Skopelos Man ...

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

Can you feel the heat ...

Its the last few days before tourism thunders up the runway ...

We made it on to the beach around 1pm. Walking past tavernas and beachside cafes making last minute preparations to open. Beautiful spring flowers, Geraniums and Marguarite's everywhere.

Some trees were still in blossom, even the lemon tree, that I gave a shake to, had new flowers, and an early sign of next years crop for me to harvest ...

The sand was really hot under my bare feet, and it hurt, you soon danced down to the damp line, to cool the feet. Now we know the reason why it was 28 degrees  ...

http://penteli.meteo.gr/stations/skiathos/
We wandered along the beach past four children playing. Two 'Mermaids' enjoying the sun and that was it, we had almost the whole expanse of the beach to ourselves.

Actually we were not the only busy bees, on the beach ...



Somewhat further friends were in the shade, with their children. Junior spotted her best friend and ran off to meet with a big hug. Seeing two children embrace as friends after a 100 metre run, almost brought a tear to the eye.

Children here hug and embrace each other from an early age. Its not frowned upon, life at a tender age is to be enjoyed. Before long they were all in the water, Boys and Girls and stayed there for a number of hours. Parents in the shade, keeping a watch from just a few metres away.


I looked up and down this virgin beach, waves gently lapping at the sand. In a few weeks it will be invisible. Covered in sunbeds, and families and couples enjoying the sun. I have to say it was absolutely stunning, Its such a shame the tourists never see it like this, or enjoy the island in its raw beauty.

I had a walk, I found a Judas tree humming with bumble bees, as they overdosed on its fragrance and enjoyed its nectar.

One for my friend Sifnos Man, who I am delighted to read is now back on Sifnos, after the cold winter in the UK. He is enjoying his Hellenic spring, and the run up to Pasca, do read about his lovely life here ...

Callistemon ...
Sadly its not mine, but I do love the colours, so vibrant in the April sunlight. Once again the bees were enjoying its nectar, as much as me the visual spectacle.

Back on the beach,  I was trying hard to explain why seawater, lovingly carried up from the Aegean, to my freshly dug hole, drained away before the tender ones eyes. The other parents, mainly school teachers, were discusing books, authors, novels and the Booker prize. 

No help there, so I told the little ones that the beach, has a hole in it to top up the sea behind them. To cries of top up the sea, they returned for more supplies ...


I focused on the distance and the new paint job on Flying Cat 5. This spring its transformed from the lovely Red with its Vodafone logo, to white and pink, to green and pink. It has now though metamorphosis, turned not from a caterpillar to a butterfly, but an ugly green Cosmote flying cat. They will regret that colour on stormy days ...

The waves came in from the wake of the flying cat, disturbing the peace and tranquillity of the beach. Sending toys flying and children running from the water.


However offshore the bay swimmer, continued without even noticing they had passed by.

Another bay swimmer came into view. I watched as a Jellyfish floated by, they spawn here at this time of the year then expire on the beaches.The clear ones are harmless the pink ones, are to be avoided.


I noticed some of the ladies we turning a nice shade of pink too, so it was as good a time as any, to pack up and head off, through the rather warm alleyways of town. 

Can you feel the heat ...
One taverna owner came out to see why lemons were rolling down the street. Then saw the reason why. He returned indoors, and then gave Junior some peaches as a gift. He watched and laughed as some now rather battered lemons, were being rolled like marbles, by the youngest member of our party down towards the port. 

Unlike the peaches which went very well, with some yoghurt a little while later ...

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

Saturday, 27 April 2013

V.I.L.P ...

Which means -Very Important Little Person ...

Today is juniors birthday, so we plan to have a fun day today.

Junior said ...

'I plan to spend time with my friends on the beach. A swim, eat lots of ice cream, have a ride on my new bicycle, and get pampered by Mum & Dad. Just like any other day really. I am so excited'

So that is what we are going to do ...

News: ANES Lines - Volos/Sporades - Proteus ferry ...


ANES lines web site are showing the start of the new ferry service ...

It will commence on Thursday 2nd May - Just in time for Pasca.
(1st May is a proposed strike day for ferries here in Greece)

You will find the timetable here on their web-site ...

Friday, 26 April 2013

Pasca preparations and tourists ...

It was the last day at school, before the Pasca holidays today ...

The older children walk the town visiting the two big churches, Panagia Limania, and Tries Hieraches. They attend their own church service, and its a very well organised affair. The church bells calling the children to church, from school in the morning.

Junior was at the school, where they hold a play for the parents. It was great fun, All of the children dance with their class mates, sing a song and plant a spring flower for Pasca. The flower representing new life, on a large mural, that they had made.


Then the children take turns to stand up in front of everyone, and on the microphone, tell all the parents their name, and recite a poem about Pasca. Afterwards the children are rewarded for being good, with a goody bag of gifts from the teachers.



It was a great morning, and afterwards junior went on a spending spree, with dadda's pocket money in a very warm, and busy Papadamatis street. New shoes the order of the day ...

I rewarded myself with a Bacon roll, from Nikos, its Friday after all. I treat myself there once a month.

Whilst in Papadamatis street, we noticed that they are here. Yes people with white skin, wearing shorts, and summer dresses. Skin going red in the sun, they speak French and German, and are enjoying the shops.

More got off the ferry this morning, when it arrived. Suitcases trundling up the street, many of them young Greeks - Tourists putting a smile on locals faces, and much needed Euro's in the bank ...


Thursday, 25 April 2013

Good evening from Taverna Stamatis ...

Tonight Agelos, Michaelis, Vangelis & Yannis tried to kill me :) ...






Another quality control check completed ...

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

Good morning from Slip Inn ...

We all like a coffee in the morning ...

Only the barista at Slip Inn, makes it a work of art to enjoy as well



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

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Play time ...

It was a lovely evening down on the old harbour ...



Meanwhile down at the play area ...

After around a year there has been a burst of activity at the childrens play area, on the old harbour. The green box has been removed, and the fig trees cut back by the council. One taverna owner even tried to get huge trunks, felled from the tree, into the play area, by the man with the small curved saw ...

This is the result of the work ...


Those big pipes are probably going to be connected to something, or reburied again shortly. What you cannot see, is that the children are still playing in the area. This is how it has been left for them to roam and enjoy.

Perhaps the tree branches are going to be used as soft matting - we shall see ...

A different kind of play time down at Taverna Alexandros, this evening.


Kalo Kalokeri to our friends at Taverna Alexandros, as they open tonight for the 2013 Summer season - Good Summer ! Especially to the most famous waiter in town ...

Two cats fighting to the death outside - as fights go this one sounds particularly vicious. Its been a mild winter,there are just too many cats ...

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

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Where is this ...

καλημερα - Morning all ...

It's a stunning morning again, here on Skiathos. Blue skies and warm sunshine again. Have been out and about, and crossed town, a couple of times on the bike already.

So who knows where this photo was taken in the 1930's ?


Later update - 24th April:

No takers - Thought you would know this one :) Come on blog readers ...

Even later update - 3rd May:

Oh dear - must try harder ...

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Start of the day ...

 Sunday 21st April 2013 - 06:58am ...

Sunrise over the Pounta ...
The perfect Sunday morning ...
Beautiful flowers at Slip Inn ...
Lovely Colours ...



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

Saturday, 20 April 2013

καλημερα σας! ...

This mornings catch, off to the fish market ...


The Marguerite's at Slip Inn ...


If the island had an Island in Bloom competition, Then Slip Inn would get my vote ...


Spring flowers anyone ?


Poppies ...


Bottle brush flower ...


Now you see a little more of what you are missing, by waiting for a tourist flight in May. If you really love Skiathos, You really must give it a try by coming here out of season. People make it all the way here from Australia, South Africa and the west coast of the USA. Look what they find ...

Stop complaining about miserable weather, in northern climes, give it a go - Skiathos is in bloom ...

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

Friday, 19 April 2013

Only in Greece ...

Can the children suffer for a political decision ...

Where are the school friends ?
I have shared many times the crazy and baffling bureaucracy of this country, sometimes it defies belief. Today is no exception. This morning there are 14 children sitting at home wondering why they are not going to Kindergarten today.

Their teacher is sitting at home too...

So the Kindergarten has three classrooms, and two teachers. It also has a considerable waiting list of children from the island waiting to join. Parents who scrimp, and save to pay the fee for their children to attend each month in these difficult times.

So the school gained permission from the hierachy, to have an extra teacher to fill the empty classroom. and give 14/15 children some kindergarten education. News spread like wildfire as parents sought out the paperwork and authority for their children to join the class.

Only the lucky children allowed to join the extra class, were given a teacher who was awarded a six month rather than a full time contract.

The arrangements were in place, and the parents of the class were advised last week that the kids were finishing on April 26th, when the children break for the Pasca holiday.

Tough to break the news to the children, but the school arranged a party for the 26th, for everyone to have a great time, and for a class to say goodbye, see you in September.

We thought it strange when this week, we had to sign for this months invoice ...

There was an impassioned meeting of parents after school yesterday, parents desperate for there to be an extension, a stay of execution. After all many of the parents start work shortly, and this class allows some of the mothers to work in hotels in the mornings, earning some much needed money ...

So the phone rang after the meeting at 4pm last night - The representative of the parents had called, with another update. Was it good news ?

The message was, School has finished for the class, with immediate effect. Its not the schools fault, it is a victim of circumstance. No more fun for the children, No more see you in September, No end of term or class party.

No refund for the parents who, have bought the T-shirts for the party. Neither for the fees that they have paid one months money, for 14 days out of 20 possible for school.

Children are our future, but not here in Greece, here they are a commodity to be traded as pawns in a game of political chess. Where you cannot employ a teacher on a full term contract, but you can dismiss the children whenever you feel like it.

You have to live here to see it, let alone believe it - This is life on a small island in the aegean ...

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Thursday, 18 April 2013

Welcome to Summer (2)

It was a busy day yesterday ...

The visit by the Aegean Odyssey was a nice surprise, for the islanders.

The places that were open, did very well from the affluent American, British and Canadian passengers. Those that were still preparing to open businesses, many with paint brushes in hand looked on with hungry eyes.

You could smell it in the air - Money - Fresh crisp euros, being recycled from the offshore bank, moored out in the bay.

Spiros opened his Grill place yesterday. Excellent timing, and a full house. Kabourelia and the cafe's were full. The boutiques and tourist shops, that were open had to blow the dust out of empty crash registers.

Nice to see bags of goodies being taken back to the boat.

A busy day yesterday elsewhere, as my friend had a very busy day attending to three funerals. Quite what the tourists made of the open top coffins and sad silent processions, I do but wonder.

Queues at the paint shop this morning for supplies, and a very busy plumbing shop as works proceed at full speed for summer, the first tourists arriving at the end of the month - April 30th is D-Day ...

Today's tip for aspiring Skiathites, at this time of the year be careful, how you pick the lemons from the tree. As i picked one this morning, the branch snapped back, and the deluge was like the stoning in Monty Python's 'Life of Brian'

Pockets bursting to the seams with lemon's and the fresh picked scented fragrant oil aroma - You have been warned ...

Skiathian's laptop is offline, an may have to be consigned to Deep six - Watch this infrequently populated space for further developments - or not - Blog by Kindle is not the way forward - TTFN ...

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

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Welcome to Summer ...

Good Morning from Skiathos ...

Aegean Odyssey arrives, The first Cruise Liner of the summer is here,



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Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Changing places ...

Its all change in town ...

So as town springs back to life, with two weeks until the first flight arrives from Amsterdam. Its time for an update on the changing face of Papadamatis street.

Here is the new restaurant in Papadamatis street, it is housed in the former OTE (Telephone exchange) building,  Its part of a chain owned by Dimitris Skarmoutsos, he is the chef on 'Greek Masterchef'. I understand it will be Deli style, with an open kitchen.


Interestingly, its had a great refurbishment, but as upstairs probably belongs to someone else, The paint job did not reach too far upwards, shame as its a very well executed job other than that.

Then there is the former Albatros bar, that will shortly open as a tourist gift shop.


The Neon fast food shop closed last month, its now been renovated and will be 'another souvenir shop'


The staff from Neon are working at a new Grill house, located in Evaggelistra street. It opened its doors last Saturday, with a great party to launch the new business, on the site of what was once a very popular taverna.


The excellent Karamelia patisserie, located next to the Mouria hotel has relocated to what was a 'Greek sweets' shop at the bottom of Papadamatis street. Kalo Kalokeri - Good Summer to Ioannis and the family ...

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

Monday, 15 April 2013

Men in Black ...

On a day that Greece received  €2.8 bn from the troika to keep the home fires burning, The Onassis family sold Skorpios to a Russian Oligarth.

Aristotle Onassis, his son Alexandre and his daugher Christina are all buried in Skorpios. Its a place of great wealth and legends.

At the peak of the island fame in the 60′s and 70′s, 200 locals, from Lefkada & Meganissi would go and work on Skorpios on a daily basis. Presumably very shortly the island will be protected by the KGB rather than the Onassis security firm. The boats that will come out to ward you off, will be armed with an AK47 instead, and men in suits and dark glasses like in Dr No

Its rather like Tsougria being owned by a Multi Billionaire, and Skiathities all heading over there to work each morning - Now there's an idea Mr Abramovich ....

Meanwhile back on the rock, it was our turn to be electricity free today. Power off at 8.30am, returning at 13:50pm. Its like when I was a child in the 70's and Electricity was rationed to ensure we all had some.

Mrs Thatcher sorted that issue out in the UK, however the closure of the mines saw us buying coal from Poland to keep the furnaces going. Five boats queued in the Thames to feed the coal fired power stations on the Isle of Grain, next to the Oil fired but redundant monstrosity, that Mr Onassis tankers would probably have fed creating wealth for Greece and small islands in the Ionian ...

We had a thunderstorm around 5:30 am, showers and a dark brooding sky, this morning which meant no painting for me. I could not see a thing, so bad light and rain stopped play. Pitch inspection at 14:45 with an expected recommencement with the brush at 15:00hrs ...

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Poles apart ...

Its gone very well today ...

The day started sunny and warm, if a little breezy this morning. The winds had gone round 90 degrees from the south, to the west. The sunshine and high cirrus clouds gave way to cotton wool clouds, over the hills that crept lower until a grey gloom extended out over the islands.

The air temperature dropped, and the chill brought adults and children back from the play area. With spots of rain starting to fall around 13:30pm..

Not that it mattered much to me, having been getting stuck into some serious painting since 8am. It all went swimmingly well until the pole broke, with about 5m left to run. Replacing it with an aluminium broom handle not quite giving me the height that I needed, despite my height advantage.

Brush painting as I went, trying out a new colour scheme on the walls. One that looks quite good at first impression, we shall see when it dries.

Stopped for tea, and its a light grey murk outside, with an occasional drip thudding down on to the roof.

If ever I fancied a glass of red wine and a bar of chocolate, then it is right now ...

19:15: So I nip out for supplies and find another neighbourhood business is closing its doors. A little shop that is a mainstay of the community - Another one bites the dust.

Off to another shop, this one in a better location and expensive in comparison. I bump into the doctor from the hospital. He knows I should have seen him a week ago. I was elsewhere and have not been back.

For the second time on this island, in seven years, I had a follow up appointment outside of the hospital. Last time in Marinopolus, This time in Papadamatis street, outside a supermarket. Dr Yorgos, here for one year, clearly looks after his patients ...

After a hard day at the end of a paint brush, I was feeling rather hungry, so tonight a fish bake with white wine, tomatoes, garlic and onion. The fish a gift from a friend on the port - Enjoy ...



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

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Power up ...

Power down ...

It's amazing how we get such big electric bills, the amount of time it goes off here. We are in another spate of  electricity outages. Its a daily event where the power goes off around 8am and you wait to see if it comes back ...


Yesterday we went to the bank, it was closed and no ATM as they had no power. I hope the staff all went to the beach to enjoy a team day before summer. We though had no money, and I had just ordered some paint to be made from a friendly supplier. I was apologetic, and he said 'no problem, pay me later' which was good of him considering the circumstances.

This morning the power went off, and came back on again a minute later. I went to the bank, they had power, and the ATM was working, so we had money. Off to the paint shop where they were pleased to see me coming in to settle my account, in such speedy fashion. Only they had no power, it was quite dark, and could not open the till.

Power outages are often blamed as being 'for the tourists', yet we seem to have seven months of power cuts, for five months of tourism, often again with power cuts.

Somehow the people of this country all pull together, to keep the rubber band that holds it all together working ...

So what do you do when there is a power cut ? Well as much as possible, in the morning on a day like today, where we have been blessed with gorgeous blue skies and a heat that burns the skin quite quickly.

Off to Kabourelias for a sunny lunch, after a busy morning to say 'Kalo Taxidi' to friends heading back to the UK. They have timed it perfectly, with the weather doing an expected 180 degree about turn at around 3am. Southerly airs and sunshine, to a Northern draught and showers.

Today we enjoyed the sun, with friends, a final glass or two of something, whilst looking at the hastily repainted ex- Vodafone 'Sponsor required - insert name here' Flying cat 5, as it emerged from the heat haze. It makes quite an interesting sight ...

Its currently painted green on the Port side over the red, and white all over the Starboard side, which looks pink due to the bleed through, from the red undercolour. It looks like its been attacked by seagulls by someone who is colourblind.




Perhaps they were caught short of money and paint, by a power cut, in Alonissos or Volos yesterday too ...

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

Friday, 12 April 2013

This is the life ...

After painting again this evening, a brief pause for pleasure ...

My neighbour offered me a glass of wine, then another, one thing led to another.

Its not everyday, you get to share a glass of wine, and a meze - 20 metres up and across the 2 metre wide street ...



But we did, they are great hosts, and yes both the wine and langoustines were delicious ...

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