Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Καλημέρα από Σκιάθο...

Good Morning from Skiathos ...

Todays weather forecast issued at 08:42am from 'The Skiathian' weather station ...

Summer seems to be here ...


We had another rumble from mother nature last night. A 2.7mag rumble which left some on the island shaken, but not stirred. Skiathian was sleeping soundly ...

Late news just in:

May 1st which is a national holiday, will also be a strike day. No ferries or fastcat craft are expected to depart on this day. Lets all go to the beach ...

All content, including Photographs, graphics, text, © The Skiathian 2010-2014. All rights reserved

Monday, 28 April 2014

Chasing Rainbows ...

That's how its been these last few days ...

You know the drill by the previous posts, starts cloudy, tries to brighten then it rains. That's exactly how it has been, and at the moment no change in sight. The sahara dust gets everywhere, all the cars and balconies are stained with a red soot from the skies ...

When I say the clouds are down the hills, this is what I mean ...


Looking the other way, I can see a rainbow ...


As you can guess, its still showery. In fact its raining right now ...

Anyone out and about early on Sunday morning, may have seen me emerging from a ruin with these flowers. I think they are quite pretty, and the aroma from the roses is really lovely ...


Quite how I never fell into the bush, reaching for these still amazes me. I live to harvest another day. For the gardeners amongst you, the Wisteria is finished, except high up on the hills. The bottle brush plants have flowered everywhere this last week. Poppies and spanish broom are in flower everywhere. Earlier I saw the first honeysuckle. Bougainvillea in flower everywhere, except on the streets 'last remaining triffid' ...

Junior had a great birthday yesterday, many well wishers from across the world. We were amazed and very touched by the comments.

My friends up at the medical centre are still patching me up. The hand is healing slowly, and the bandage gets filthy. Its my own fault,and its a 'breeding ground for bacteria' I do get told off very nicely. The antibiotics have finished, so the 'kokkino krassi' medicine is back on the menu ...

Here on the island, the closing date for the Mayoral election papers was last night. Hopefully it will all become clearer over the next few days, who has enough supporters to make it onto the final ballot paper. Then they will fight it out, to see who faces the 'old doctor' in round two ...

Work continues in earnest to prepare for the tourist invasion later this week. Kango hammers, buzz saws and all types of electrical tools being put to good use. Then there are the ladders, and people with paintbrushes balanced at precarious angles where ever you look.

Talking of paintbrushes, and high level work. Here is a famous island artist, hard at work between the rain showers, earlier this afternoon.


1. Name the artist
2. Name the taverna

... and before you ask

'Here is the Skiathos weather forecast issued at 16:23pm local time from The Skiathian weather bureau'

I can confirm, its absolutely tipping down, here in Skiathos ...

All content, including Photographs, graphics, text, © The Skiathian 2010-2014. All rights reserved

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Murky ...

Another cool grey damp start to the day.

Clouds firmly having being on to the tops of the hills. Fine rain falling, from a sky full of different shades of grey, and another scattering of Sahara dust too.

Watching Swallows making low level passes, on a puddle of water ...

The sun has tried it's hardest to break through the clouds, a burst of sunlight, and a quick passing chat with a Greek friend. Two rays of sunshine, on the trot, so only one more needed.

An enquiry on the repairs to the hand. I replied the fingers are fine, but the hand has to come off. Apparently that's a Greek solution to a crisis, from fingers to politics in two straight moves.

When is that election ...

The sun is trying again, another Greek friend stops to chat, my fellow countrymen walk on by. As someone once said to me 'You have gone native' and as compliments go, I rather like it ...

Though by the look of the dark cloud approaching. I may well need my coat, and to sprint home for lunch.

Tomorrow is junior's birthday, my favourite day of the year ...

Later update: It stayed dry this afternoon, again the sun tried to break through. Though this evening there is Thunder nearby, and rain in the air. Looks like a classic case of trench foot for the trusty timberlands, could be on the cards this evening ...

Note: The  festival of zoi blog post updated, with photo, from friend of the blog Valerie Brown.
Welcome to visitors from the "Skiathos Facebook page" and thank you to the admins, for the link, to The Skiathian ...

19:00hrs and its a proper 'Skiathos thunderstorm' probably short and sweet.

Thunder and lightning, rattling the windows, big raindrops falling on the island. The last lightning flash seemed to have grounded in town. The thunder, would have made many action movies, as a naval bombardment ...

The hills are shades of grey, and the air smells fresh, from the lightning induced phostrogen. The rainwater in the streets does seem to be red, from the Sahara dust heading down towards the sea. Very low cloud rolling through acropolis, just above bus stop no 4 ...

Good evening from a rather damp rock in the Aegean ...



Friday, 25 April 2014

Festival day ...

Today is the 'Festival of Zoi' ...

It's started cool and grey, with another widespread coating of Sahara dust. Its been another strange weather kind of day ...



Intermittent light rain showers, followed by bursts of warm sunlight. Its rather like going to the first cricket matches of the season. All eyes on the changing colours and appearance of the skies …

Skopelos news have published a 'dust forecast' - More red rain on the way. Click here ...

Sadly due to work commitments, I have not been able to go up to the Festival of Zoi. However the tourists who have headed up into the hills, will be having a great time.

Photo courtesy of  Val Brown

The skies have cleared and there is warm sunlight this afternoon for the festival. They usually dispense free wine, there is Greek dancing, and the excellent tsipouro from the Evagelistra monastery is close at hand ...

Quote from friend of the blog Val Brown, who said 'Lovely afternoon free wine beer Greek sausage and souvlaki all on the town. Really good band and l lots of ladies dancing!! We just love Skiathos!!


All content, including Photographs, graphics, text, © The Skiathian 2010-2014. All rights reserved

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Mass tourism returns to Skiathos ...

OK Well the first charter flight has arrived here ...

Sahara dust storm with reverse thrust ...
Mass tourism, has returned to the island. The first Transavia flight from Amsterdam, arrived on runway 20. Kicking up huge amounts of dust as it arrived ...

There was a large downfall of Sahara sand last night. Its like Koukounaries has been picked up and scattered all over the island ...

Plenty of torque on the nose wheel ...
The dust plume from the arriving Transavia, was visible from high up in the hills ...

Welcome to Skiathos where the local time is 11:30am.
Very shortly you will disembark in a sand storm ...
We are expecting more of the same over the next few days.Cars and balconies are all covered in the dust. We need a good rain to wash it all away, but as tourism is back here we know that is not allowed ...

Best wishes to my new friend at the airport, who recognised me there today. (Are you Skiathian ?) Excellent powers of observation. It was good to chat, hope you can pass the message on to ATC ...

Dear friends of the blog, please remember to be polite to all the airport staff, who will be working very hard to assist your transit through the airport this summer. They will appreciate all your goodwill ...

All content, including Photographs, graphics, text, © The Skiathian 2010-2014. All rights reserved

Phones, SIM cards and text messages ...

I want to tell you a story ...

Friends who visit often, seem to spend a lot of time looking at their mobile phones, not able to get a connection - or because the SIM is blocked abroad. Its happened again this week ...

I always say get a Greek SIM card, and a cheap phone - Outlay €25 and you can connect with those who you need to - If you want to ...

So, I get a text: 'Hi this is my new Greek number' ...

Great, but I do not have a 'Scooby doo' who from the Boomerangers it is, because they have not said.

So I replied, 'not sure what your IQ is like, but mine is pretty low. Have no idea who you are ...

Back came the reply

'I have not worked out how to work the phone yet'

I gave up and called them back ...

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

St Georges Day in Skiathos ...

Χρονια πολλα ! Its Yorgos name day in Greece ...

So off to church down by the lake for all the George and Georginas. Then after Pappa Yorgos has celebrated with them all. Its down to the serious business.

Its a tradition here that there is a horse race round the lake, on St Georges day - 'sadly this year, due to my jousting injury, I am unable to compete' ...



However Skiathian will try to take some 'left handed' photos later ...

Later update:

The Skiathos Saint George's Day, horse race winner ...










Its been a cool grey day, so quite appropriate that the grey horse won. Plenty of dust kicked up by the horses in some keenly competitive races. Lots of sahara dust up in the skies too ...

Monday, 21 April 2014

Pasca Sunday - (Not for vegetarians) ...

Sunday is devoted to the serious business of the barbecue ...

Invited by friends down to Maniatis Garden Taverna at Achladies, for lunch on a beautiful warm Sunday morning. Even warmer still once you were nearer the fire, which had been prepared earlier that morning and was like a furnace as we tapped in the steel rods ...

Charcoal mark 4 ...

On the menu was goat, two of them from Alonissos island. Their goats, I am assured are the best that there are, due to the quality of the grass, and herbs on the land that they roam.

Stuffed with herbs and lots of pepper, basted in a dip made from olive oil, lemon, flavoured with marjoram and thyme. Applied with a brush made from fresh rosemary, and sage branches.

Charcoal Mark 5 ...
The party games commenced, with tsougrisma (τσούγκρισμα), meaning to clink together. Easter eggs are dyed red to represent the blood of Christ, shed on the Cross, and the hard shell of the egg symbolizes the sealed Tomb of Christ—the cracking of which symbolizes his resurrection from the dead ...


To put you in the mood, there was music, tsipouro, and wine which went down a treat in the heat. Today officially being declared 'Shorts on Sunday' as the jeans were too warm for me on the beach.

Yammas !

Whilst the boys, got on with the serious business of roasting goats, and the Kokoretsi ...


The girls prepared some lovely salads. The island produce the main feature and including home made sun dried tomatoes, rocket and pungent freshly picked dill. All drizzled in lovely Olive oil ...



Skiathos - Organic - sun dried tomatoes ...
Then we had a lovely Octopus appetizer, baked in tinfoil, directly on the open fire. It was delicious and moist, having steamed in its own juices for around half an hour ...



Our host Vasilis, raises a glass to us all, and to you - Kalo Pasca apo Skiatho! ...


Meanwhile the BBQ was doing its job, and after a glass of wine, we were getting hungry again. The aroma was fantastic from the BBQ to say the very least ...

Charcoal mark 6 ...
After a few hours, our guests from Alonissos, were deemed to be well and truly done. 



It was time to eat drink and be merry.  ...




Kokoretsi, may not be to everyone's taste, but this was delicious, probably the best one, that we have had over the years. This had been slowly barbecued too ...





Readers may remember that I was baptised with candle wax one Pasca. Now I was further 'confirmed' by our Greek friends. I was put to the test performing a 'Skiathos Bush tucker trial' (BTT) my additional menu was as follows ...







BTT1 - One Goats eye (Medium/Well done) I suggest it goes better with the Chardonnay ...

BTT2 - One serving of Goats brain,(Medium/Rare) It goes better with a hearty red ...

Its a delicacy said my torturer ...

That was not all ...

I had managed to spear my hand, taking a broken bamboo stick off one of the children. Better my hand than a little ones eye. The wound was a bad one, and I knew it straight away. The afternoon was in danger of coming to a swift end for me.

One of the guests, was a plastic surgeon, he took a look. He said, its two stitches, or I will fix it for you now. I was not convinced, but he seemed to know what he was doing ...

BTT3 - The plastic surgeon, and the 800 degree fire ash to cauterize and sterilise the wound ...



Strange as it may seem, and I do not recommend you try this at home - It worked ...

So just leaves me to say thanks to our hosts, Vasilis and his family, and Milton and Zoe for their hospitality. A great day spent with friends, at their truly special time of the year ...

All content, including Photographs, graphics, text, © The Skiathian 2010-2014. All rights reserved

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Χριστὸς ἀνέστη!

The Paschal greeting, also known as the Easter acclamation, is an Easter custom ...

You will be greeted with the phrase Χριστὸς ἀνέστη! (Christos Anesti)
You respond with Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη! (Alithós Anésti!)

There was great anticipation as the clock approached midnight. The bell tower, wafted clouds of incense, as fireworks exploded, and flares were sent up from the old harbour below the square ...

This is the moment the flame appeared from Tries Hieraches church last night ...

All content, including Photographs, graphics, text, © The Skiathian 2010-2014. All rights reserved



The fleme passed from candle to candle. Soon the square was lit by a candle glow ...



Pappa Yorgos continuing the service outside, with the crowds as the midnight hour approached.


The scene below, watched from every vantage point ...



Then Pappa Yorgos announces the words that everyone is waiting to hear - Χριστὸς ἀνέστη!


The church bells ring out, bay leaves rain down from the bell tower ...


Fireworks explode over the square, thunderflashes, boat klaxons celebrate the moment ...


You kiss your friends and neighbours, exchange the paschal greeting, Χριστὸς ἀνέστη! (Christos Anesti) responding with Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη! (Alithós Anésti!) and Χρόνια πολλά ...

This is Pasca, at Tries Hieraches in 1950, as you can see, its not changed much over the years ...

Photo copyright: The Benaki Museum
Then slowly the square cleared, It is the custom to carry the Eternal Flame home and use it to make the sign of the cross on the door frame in smoke. The smoke cross is left there throughout the year, symbolizing that the light of the Resurrection has blessed the home. The candles are used to light icon candelabra, and are put on the table for the midnight meal. The sight of hundreds of candle flames moving from the church to homes on that night is very beautiful, indeed.

When you mark the house, passing friends and neighbours will stop, they exchange the Pascal greeting with you. Even complete strangers will kiss your cheek. Its a very special time for everyone. One where all guests, and non orthodox people are made very welcome indeed ...

All content, including Photographs, graphics, text, © The Skiathian 2010-2014. All rights reserved