Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Lovely morning ...

So I spent most of it in the bank ...

Today is pensions and pay your taxes day, In addition its the day for paying your 1st instalment of property tax. Needless to say the queues have been 'impressive' as money is withdrawn, from mattresses all over the island to pay up ...

I was no 110 in the queue, with around 40 numbers, still ahead of me. I left the scene, and did something else, on returning around 25 still in front. Bill popped in on day two of his visit to the bank, Perhaps he should have retained his number from the day before. Giannis laughed when I asked him, to pop back with some lunch.

The overworked ticket machine started displaying numbers in the medium 400's and dispensed them in the 140's. When I finally made it to the till, I was overjoyed, However Vangelis had steam coming from his ears. Still we made fun of the situation and I was able to escape.

Poorer in pocket, and minus and hour of so of my life, that I will never get back ...

Its pointing up towards the sun ...

The island is rapidly going to 'tourist' sleep, Boats announcing this is their 'final trip' and some have departed completely, Sunbeds being all but removed from the beaches, Restaurants and Tavernas closing overnight, Shops disappearing almost without trace, replaced by wooden hoardings.

The stampede for the mainland, and winter destinations continues in earnest. It was good to see a thank you note, from one grateful owner for a seasons custom ...



Strange as it may seem, there are holidaymakers arriving today. If anyone wants a view of Skiathos in winter, then its approaching somewhat quickly, despite the blue skies and warm sunshine ...

The winter village awaits them, with a few autumn season additions ...

Later update: Bumped into Jeremy down on the Paralia, Now lets see if he can get some GMail sorted on his return home. Lovely stroll around the Bourtzi in the evening sun, watching the comings and goings in the harbour. Nice to see the cafe still open for business ...

Monday, 29 September 2014

The sweet smell of Skiathos ...

Ortwin Wildman in the Sunday Telegraph ...


Rhiannon Edwards goes herb-hiking, on the verdant Greek island of Skiathos

Read the full story here ...

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Smells nice ...

In the kitchen ...

Junior kicked me out of bed this morning, woken up by noise in the street. So unable to get back to sleep, I am making use of the time making some bread.

I know it's been a while so watch this space ...

8am: 1st rise completed, knocked the stuffing out of it. Now it's going to left for at least an hour. It's going to be a bloomer. Fingers crossed we shall see ...

9:30 am 2nd rise not as good as the first, spreading rather than rising {Middle age spread?} or that its too cool.  Anyway its in the oven now, lets see how it turns out - or not ...

10:00 Well it seems to be rising in the oven, I sprinkled it with magic dust ...

Later:

Well it was a bit of a flat Eric, rather than a bloomer, but it cant taste that bad - The vultures descended on it and its half what it used to be.

Its a bit breezy here this morning, I think a draught or two, and the cool air, may have affected the rising process of the dough.

Still its my first wholemeal loaf of bread - Baked ...

SWMBO made good use of the oven too - A delicious Pear cake filled with a creme anglaise 'type' filling ...

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Saturday morning ...

Started off with a storm ...

The early morning alarm call from mother nature, sent the street into a raging torrent for an hour. Since then there have been a few heavy showers, one that sent me running for cover in Papadamatis street.

I popped into Caffe Latino, Its owned by an Italian, Valentino, and as everyone knows, Italians know a thing about coffee. A cappuccino that was both creamy and light, and a hit from the espresso within - Wow!

Now I have to say, this is probably the best cappuccino, that I have had in a very long time ...

After the rain there was another storm, this time one out in the street with the neighbours. Even the police were involved. It was the rubbish bins, and an adjudication in the ongoing game of 'Rubbish bin chess. The only difference being the instigator of all the trouble, appears to have departed.

So the council took the bins away - Now where does our 'seemingly absent' neighbour think, where thats going to go to now. The cats are going to have a field day ...

Now if only the following were true ...


But on a gloomy damp Saturday afternoon, what do you do ? Well you go to the harbour cafes, and wait to watch the football. Well that's what most people seemed to be doing today, and who can blame them either ...

Nice to see  the famous Stig again earlier, giving up his seat to a South African friend Terry - So he could enjoy the football in the front row ....

Friday, 26 September 2014

Friday storm ...

Has just arrived on the rock ...

After a promising start with blue skies, a wind storm arrived. Strengthening winds battering the shutters, and rattling the roof tiles. Now (15:10) its getting darker we need the lights on.

Looks like the forecast is not far out ...



Its a thunderstorm, and heavy rain now lashing down too.

Off to school, no doubt returning very wet ...

16:00  Returned damp and very windswept, after dodging the thunderbolts. Aircraft are not able to land at Skiathos, at the moment due to the weather conditions. This is the current lightning and storm activity across Greece ...


18:20pm Storms are intensifying across Greece, here its just a windstorm rattling the shutters. It could be an interesting evening ...


20:06pm Now we have closed all the shutters, for the first time this autumn. Its still breezy but its now raining steadily. The latest Lightning activity tells a story ...



Thursday, 25 September 2014

One of those nights ...

Lets meet up for 'coffee' he said ...

There we were relaxing after drinkng our 'tsipouro'. The famous Stig was leading 5-4, and I was at the point where I was quite happy to declare my innings closed.

It was a nippy evening, some seriously under dressed people out and about. I was very pleased to have a long sleeve shirt, my trusty fleece, and long trousers making a first and very welcome return appearance. Its now autumn and even the dew was settling from the evening air ...

It had been an interesting evening,  Ferries had come and gone in the dark. The island hopper had flown in and departed. Tables filled and emptied with a steady ebb and flow. The harbour though was quiet, and seemingly getting quieter by the day.

Brian or Kriandos as he is more commonly known on the island, had been holding court, Just a few doors away at Syraino. Providing the live entertainment with Dimitris the Liverpudlian. The Duchess of Alkyon, and her 'lady in waiting' Sheila, were in residence too, just a table away from us.

Then someone enters 'stage right' and stops for a chat with Stig. Now we do have a habit of attracting people, who may have had a glass or two, This conversation though, was right off the wall.

I actually thought we were being addressed by a colonial, ex policeman type. It started with a 'do you speak English' and ended with a 'we think we know who you are'...

The game was up - It was a fair cop ...

So this is how we ended up sitting with Elaine and Hugh, Who somehow had positively identified the author of the blog. Elaine clearly having a 'super sixth sense' or divine ESP, Either that or did Hugh just ask random strangers the same question all summer? Until he came back with the right answer - who knows ...

Pretty amazing really as we have never met before. There is a thought, perhaps Elaine can do something similar for me with her ESP, Only this time with the Greek lottery numbers ...

So we chatted in the cool evening air, as tables and bars emptied, and closed all around. In fact well into the twilight hours, We eventually closed the place up - well actually the owners more or less did. For the second time in my island life, They just put some more drinks on the table, and left us to get on with it ...

Lets hope the guys awaiting their Thomas Cook flight to London Gatwick, did the same as us last night. They currently have a 23 hour delay on their flight, So plenty of time to recuperate this morning.

Back on the weather front, it now looks like the rain will now arrive here tomorrow, The bad weather should clear through the islands on Sunday morning, Then we will return to our autumnal, Indian summer skies again ...

The bins are still playing chess in the street, I glanced out yesterday, just as the instigator of the game was 'hands on' and just about to move them again, Only I too was spotted just at that exact moment.

So funny to see a grown up scamper away, Just like a rabbit caught in the headlights. I wonder if I pop down the bank, I can get some of that dye, they put in the cash bags. Pop some on the bin handles, The identity of the 'blue hand bin gang' revealed to all ...

Currently the bins are on their third rotation of the morning, The street cleaner has just relocated them again. The lines are clearly drawn, between Neighbour (1) & Neighbour (3) in this latest episode of Rubbish bin chess ...

Later update:

Getting dark here on Skiathos, The fire fighting planes have crossed the island again this evening. Thursdays seem to be their training day around here.


Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Flying in this week ? ...

If you are coming out on Friday, A suggestion ...

May be a good idea to bring wet weather gear, and some good books. It looks like the Monsoon returns on Friday afternoon ...

This is the current forecast for the start of the weekend ...



Lets hope they are wrong, but the fortnightly downpour appears to be on the horizon. At least you know it should get warm again afterwards ...

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Rubbish Bin Chess ...

Its been going on all summer ...

One neighbour (1) arrives, and moves the rubbish bins to the other side of the street. The council men move them back. The neighbour argues with the men, and tells them they have to be left there.

Neighbour (2) arrives, and moves them back again, and an argument ensues. Neighbour (3) moves them off the wall of Neighbour (1&2) property whenever passing by ...

Neighbours (1&2) who are not here at the same times this year, so the bins move back, and forth across the street. This week they are outside neighbour (2) house, and sometimes round the corner. This upsets neighbour (3) who moves them back round the corner.

Neighbour (1) then moves them again back and forth, Only this week a new tactic has evolved - Now neighbour (1) is moving them into no mans land, right in the centre of the street.

We currently have the only street central, block everything refuse bins, in Skiathos ...

Anyone accessing the street by car be it a deliveryman or truck, then moves them back to outside neighbour (1) house, which is the widest, and unobtrusive part of the street.

Exactly where the rubbish has been left for years ...

Later in the evening, the bins were back in No Mans land, Only for someone to move them firmly back outside neighbour (1) house, last night, under cover of darkness. A clear notice of intent by person or persons unknown. (It could be Neighbour 2,3 or even a new neighbour no 4? entering the fray).

Neighbour (1) moved them back into no mans land at around 1am ...

This morning the street cleaner has moved them, from the centre of the street, to the corner of Neighbour (2) house ready for Neighbour (3) to move them back again later ...

If you imagine the moves on a chess board, then I thing just about every one, has been employed in this game. The merry go round continues ...

Latest: Neighbour (1) has just looked up, and down the street, and slowly moved the bins out into No Mans land as quietly as possible ...

Later: Bingate update: A new change, the bins still centre street, have now have moved a few metres uphill. Standby for neighbour (3) to intervene. It could be the bins were aided by the forecast strong winds, which have just arrived, However the bins do appear to have also climbed a step by magic. Confrontation lines now drawn on the cobbles Neighbour 1 v Neighbour 3 it seems ...



Monday, 22 September 2014

Indian Summer ...

Thats what its been like since Friday ...

Sunny and warm, some may say sticky, others may prefer humid. I escaped the rock yesterday in search of a beach. We were not alone, with around thirty others enjoying it, spaced around 25-50 metres apart enjoying the autumn sun.

Warm water and blue skies ...


I did enjoy taking in the view ...


Which made me feel a bit peckish ...


Before we knew it though, it was time to head home ...



Its been much the same today, a high of 29 degrees ...


Well after a sprint to pay bills, I was summoned to meet the 'Duchess of Alkyon' for tea. OK it started off as a coffee, But then the warm weather, caused some slippage.

The conversations clearly of great interest to our neighbours on an adjoining table. The afternoon spent chatting and enjoying the time, as the world drifted by. SWMBO and Junior came along, and joined the fun too ...

People returned for evening drinks, only to find the lunchtime gang still there. Boats came and boats departed, others disgorged lobster coloured masses onto the harbour from Skopelos and Alonisoss.

Some boats even left for shelter in the new harbour, as the winds turned to the south. The winds will turn back to the north tomorrow, and we expect a rather more breezy day ...

For those who have asked, yes I passed all your messages on. The Duchess and her lady in waiting (Code name - 'Mines a Mythos') were both in top form, The DofA not easily recognisable, being in disguise, with her Clog Pump and Pipe.

The Duchess is an absolute legend, and her identity is, and will of course remain a secret ...

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Pete's photos ...

Pete has been in touch ...

Friend of the blog, and contributor Pwll, has sent some photos of the 'instability' in the skies. The photos were taken on Friday morning, as the sun rose, after the rain.

The views are across the Koukounaries lake towards the Skiathos Palace hotel ...




Quite dramatic skies, unlike today where the sky is clear blue. The barometer continues to rise, and the weather looks set fair at last ...


Friday, 19 September 2014

Damp start ...

Rain again from 5am ...

It was bucketing down, and the street awash once again. However it only lasted an hour, the sun rose and a breeze shifted the storm clouds away. Quite colourful skies first thing ...

It has been a wet few weeks, the 'monsoon season' in all its September glory. The sunshine in-between giving hope of better days still to come. However the storms have cooled the air for now.

It happened again yesterday, a shiver early in the morning that woke me from my sleep. Its not the first one either lately, but sadly the time appears to have come. For the first time since May, to retreat back to sleeping under a sheet. SWMBO took the event one step further getting a blanket out ...

Lots of us have suffered at some time with a flu like bug, over the last few weeks. Now the sore throat and chesty cough bug, is back doing the rounds. Probably thanks to the recent wet weather.We need some heat to dry out both the island and peoples lungs.

That heat should be here from tomorrow ...

PS It seems Scotland did not have such a braveheart after all. There probably goes the chance of an independent flight from Scotland too ...

Ever thought of going to Skyros - Read this review on Skopelos News ...

Later update: The sun has been beating down on the island since lunchtime. Its very warm, even a touch sticky.

This afternoon the cruise ship Sea Cloud returned to the island, it was here recently. This time the boat is on a mission, to deliver a passenger in need of medical attention. There is a private ambulance waiting on the old harbour, whilst Sea cloud anchors in Megali Amos bay ...

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

High tide in Papadamatis street ...

The storm has caused Papadamatis street to be severely affected by flooding ...

Photos below shared with kind pemission of Bob Mizen ...





Megali Amos ...

Photo - Spiridoula Stamelou


Flight day Armageddon ...

The forecast was right ...

Flights are unable to land at Skiathos due to the bad weather, and are being diverted to Athens. Weather conditions here are poor to say the very least. I have not seen or heard any aircraft landing today ...

Thomas Cook from Manchester TCX2486 diverted to Athens, and was holding there due to bad weather at Skiathos - The crew ran out of hours and its overnighting there ...

Thomas Cook from Bristol TCX19WL diverted to Athens, and holding there due to bad weather at Skiathos ...

TCX19WL from Bristol ...
TCX54HJ from Gatwick now well on its way to Skiathos or Athens, Passing Split in Croatia at the moment. Weather here in Skiathos right now is foul ...

14:50pm TCX54HJ circled the island five times at 25000feet, before diverting. So ensuring all flights were diverted to Athens.

Papadamatis street has been severely affected by flooding. (Update to follow) ...

Late news: 22:30hrs

The passengers from Bristol have been on a bus coming up from Athens. They are on the AG Nikolaos tour boat, Its picked them up from the port of Pigadi - North of Agios Konstantinos. If they fall asleep its going Skopelos Alonissos in the morning ...

The Thomas Cook to Manchester TCX2487 will come up from Athens, and depart Skiathos in the morning. The overnighting passengers have a 04:30am alarm call.

Stormy weather ...

The thunderstorms have been rolling by since 03:30am,

So far they have stayed over on the mainland. Apart from the thunder that was it. Now we have torrential rain falling to accompany the nearby thunder (07:15am) ...

Skiathos weather station reports 5mm of rain in that downpour alone.



The weather forecast has not improved much, Still looks like a wet day ahead ...

Later update:

Flights unable to land at Skiathos due to the bad weather are being diverted to Athens. Weather conditions here are poor to say the least. I have not seen or heard any aircraft landing today ...


Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Weather forecast ...

Looks 'interesting' for tomorrow ...


Those grey numbers, and in one instance blue are the forecast Precipitation (mm/3h). Looks a tad inclement for the school run, let alone anyone flying in tomorrow ...

We have been forecast thunderstorms daily this week, However despite the shower in town yesterday its been fine with the usual boiling cumulonimbus clouds, that have been threatening from time to time ...

18:00 Later update:

Lets revise the weather forecast downwards ...


Over to the weather gods, we will see what happens in the morning.

21:00 Even later update:

Slightly better ...



Wellies anyone ? ...

Unbelievable ...

An old lady is lying in the street, she has been there over an hour. Family friends and neighbours are comforting her. It seems she has broken her hip.

We have no public service ambulance, since the driver retired. So we are waiting for a private ambulance, to move her.

Somehow she needs to get to the medical centre, then probably tonight to the mainland.

This is what happens, when the country is stripped bare of funds, no-one in the troika cares what happens next.

Welcome to the real Skiathos, not the tourist one you know so well ...

Monday, 15 September 2014

Elle ...

A candid photo yesterday ...

I had passed by and noticed someone giving some love to a kitten. The penny dropped a little further on, Its Elle ...

On my way back, I just took a photo, and she turned round. 


Now this little one had lost its mum, and been the subject of some unkindness ...


Help was at hand, and hopefully now the kitten is now somewhere safe, after Elle's timely intervention ...


Sunday, 14 September 2014

The Katsonis memorial ...

Its 71 years to the day since the Katsonis was lost ...

The Katsonis
Source: http://www.navypedia.org/ships/greece/gr_ss_katsonis.htm
'Celebrated annually in September on the Greek island of Skiathos, the Katsonia Festival is held in memory of the submarine Lambros Katsonis, which was sunk on 14th September 1943 close to Kastro, the former capital of Skiathos, located on the northern tip of the island.
Source: http://www.mezeviris.gr/missiontolondon.html
Whilst trying to intercept a German troop transport during World War Two, the Lambros Katsonis was sunk by the German submarine chaser UJ-2101. This tragic event resulted in the drowning of 32 crewmen, including the ship’s captain, as well as 15 other crewmembers being captured by the Germans.

Amazingly, three of the ship’s crew – Lt. Eleftherios Tsoukalas, the ship’s executive officer, and petty officers Antonios Antoniou and Anastasios Tsigros – managed to swim to the shores of Skiathos, which was an epic feat taking them nine exhausting hours. They hid on the island until they eventually managed to return to Egypt, to rejoin the Greek fleet.

The submarine was named after the 18th century Greek naval hero Admiral Lambros Katsonis who built up a small fleet in order to begin harassing the Ottomans in the Aegean Sea'

Here in Skiathos, we have our annual visit from the Hellenic Navy, to commemorate the event ...


The memorial service took place in Tries Hieraches church this morning. It was standing room only and the service was broadcast on loudspeakers outside ...



Followed by a wreath laying service at the memorial to the sailors, on the old harbour. 


The names of the sailors, and their role on board are read out by one of the sailors. 


Then the dignitaries lay wreaths, to honour the sailors ultimate sacrifice, 71 years ago today ...

The Mayor Mr Prevanzanos
Mr Plomaritis - Prefecture




Then after a minutes silence, the assembled sang the Greek National Anthem ...



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

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Back to school ...

Its that time again ...

Summer holidays now over, Its time to go back to school ...

Here in Greece they start the school year off gently, You attend for an hour on day one, you meet up with your friends, and have some fun.

Pappa Yorgos was on duty at Nippia this morning, Here blessing the children, the school, the teachers, parents and friends, for the coming school year ...


This being an important occasion, for the young children, the Icon of Kounistria was present for the blessing service,


Following the service, the children headed off to the harbour, where the parents discuss important events over coffee.

Tomorrow the children go to school for their first full day, Having met their new teachers today at 'roll call' on the steps of the school ...

Later update: SWMBO & Junior, went to the beach with friends. I was left home alone, this evening the setting sun giving out some serious heat.

Two pairs of fire fighting planes have crossed the island, after a low pass, and are heading back to Volos. The setting sun now obscured by clouds, rapidly cooling the air ...

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

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Congratulations ...

To Oana & Adrian ...

A lovely couple from Timišoara Romania, who I met here yesterday. Now celebrating their engagement.

Skiathos making magic happen, once again ...

This is a new one ...

Even for me, Skiathos bananas ...

A friends palm has flowered, and produced fruit, Lets hope they ripen, I am looking forward to a Skiathiti banana.


Until then, better eat some more grapes ...



Later update: The waning supermoon, rose as a burning red ball over town this evening. The passengers on the star clipper, must have had an amazing view, whilst enjoying dinner on board ...

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

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Greeks bearing gifts ...

Edible ones at that ...


What to do with such a lovely gift, well we put some of them to good use. We sttarted with lunch with Margaret ...


Lucky to have good friends, both near, and far at the moment. Special thanks to the 'great sage' for the cheese, likewise Mick,Charlotte & Charlie (Shame we could not meet), Maureen and Dave with the cheese and supplies for Junior ...

View of the current harvest moon tonight, looking spooky here in town ...


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