Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Snow fun ...

Not on Skiathos, where its wet and windy ...

But lots of photos circulating of the snow that is affecting Northern Greece, and Pilio. Which is not far from Skiathos ...

Photo: facebook.com/IncroyableGrece
This is Meteora this morning, somewhere where many of us like to visit in warmer times ...

Monday, 28 November 2016

Cold draught ...

No not the Carlsberg Mythos on tap ...

Cold air is moving south, fire up the woodburner, winter is coming ...


A big cold blast moving across central, and into southern Europe!

Later update:

Cold arctic airmass continues pushing southwards tonight! Current temperatures ...


Sunday, 27 November 2016

Wet and windy ...

Severe Weather Outlook 26-28/11/2016
Alert issued by Severe Weather Greece

The main features of the weather systems which will affect the country for the next 3 days (at least), starting from Saturday noon from W Greece, will be the excessive precipitation (esp. for the "red" areas on the map – for the areas on W Greece, it is valid for Saturday, Sunday & Monday and for the areas on ENE Aegean sea, it is valid for Sunday & Monday) and the severe thunderstorms. Until the evening/night of Saturday, rainfall and thunderstorms will be affecting eastern continental parts as well.


Phenomena will continue till Monday evening at least. Waterspouts are likely at the Ionian sea (mainly on Saturday). A small possibility for tornadoes esp. for Peloponnese and Attica is there for Monday.
Winds will be generally strong, blowing from southern directions and very strong only in C & ENE Aegean sea (up to 75-80 km/h max).
From Monday noon winds will gradually start blowing from NNE and they will be stormy esp. in the Aegean. The temperature will drop considerably and snow will appear also in areas with low or zero altitude in C & N Greece, as well as semi-mountainous areas of SE continental Greece.

(Severe thunderstorms affecting Athens overnight)

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Something for the weekend ...

How about making a nice Moussaká - For Sunday lunch ?

Not impressed with the taverna version, or the slop they serve as ready made food in the supermarkets ? Well don't despair, This article, may well help you, and its well worth a read.

No Messing Moussaká – Greek Food Myth

Read on - Its a great site, with plenty of great hints and tips, so take time to explore it.

Remember the golden rule  Greek food, Moussaká, Stifado, stews and pies always taste better the next day, So after allowing it to cook, leave it to cool. Re-heating works wonders for the flavours to develop ...

Now what shall we have for dinner -tomorrow ...

Friday, 25 November 2016

Update on the Hotel Xenia (Update - 25/11) ...

Wonder how it will look ?

Yes me too, so here is a link for some artists impressions, by (HHH Architects) from the site http://kataskevesktirion.gr/ ...

"It is Greek web site, they are Greek, they do write in Greek"  For those who cannot use Google translate (Other translation services are widely available) This is what the architects have to say ...

"The study involves the construction of a 5 * hotel in Skiathos. The central idea of the study was the search for an original type of tourist facility whose architecture stand for respect and integration into the environment and the amenities offered.

The hotel consists of 24 apartments with private pool, garden and terrace. The plot is a amphitheater with steep slope overlooking the sea. The buildings are developed linearly along the amphitheater of the field. The configuration of the relief in the building complex is the basic idea of the project design.

The aim is to collate the building with the topography of the field structure, eliminating between their boundaries and allowing a single optical effect, a new topography. The contour per 4m converted into a building with a green roof, swimming pools, terraces and apartments in five different levels .

The roofs of the buildings utilized for forming the open spaces of the apartments located in each above level. All rooms have sea view and access to the linear pool. Access is from the side of the mountain. Finally, privacy is ensured by stepwise regression of flats parallel adjustable on the ground, the view and the use of spacers"

Steve in Skiathos and 'Skiathos island News' have been posting regular updates, as the works have progressed during the year. You can see them here ...

Renovations at the Hotel Xenia (12/01) ...

Renovations at the Hotel Xenia (Update - 28/01) ...

Renovations at the Hotel Xenia (Update - 11/03) ...

Renovations at the Hotel Xenia (Update - 28/03) ...

Renovations at the Hotel Xenia (Update - 03/08) ...


Renovations at the Hotel Xenia (Update - 30/10) ...

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Ferry Fun ...


The Hellenic Seaways ferries and the 'Cosmote' sponsored flying cats 5/6, are tucked up in Piraeus, for the worst of the winter ...

Perhaps they have seen the weather forecast ...

Latest news, is that the Skiathos Express will start running on 14th February, after a new coat of paint and the annual engine overhaul. Check for updates on their web site https://hellenicseaways.gr/en/

Over the last few years, they seem to lay their boats up in Piraeus, rather than run them at a loss, during the winter. However the Sporades boats (Appolon Hellas - Poseidon and the Express Skiathos) are due to be handed over to a new company 'Two way ferries.

Both flying cats were withdrawn on 31/10. This means the islands rely solely on the flying Dolphin, for urgent passage to the mainland. Problem being the Dolphin cannot operate in bad weather, whereas the more expensive Flying cat could operate in conditions, up to force 8 beaufort.

Seems the islands have been disconnected, and we know how hard it is to get a phone engineer ...

Until then:

Flying Dolphin Erato is offering reduced prices for island travelers

VOLOS - SKIATHOS 25.00 / SKIATHOS - VOLOS 25.00
VOLOS - SKOPELOS 30.00 / SKOPELOS - VOLOS 30.00
VOLOS ALONNISOS 30.00 / ALONNISOS - VOLOS 30.00

The flying Dolphin Erato will oparste from Alonissos to Volos return daily. Sunday to Friday, the Erato will be sailing from the port of Volos at 14.00, Tuesday at 17.00 and Sunday at 15.00, while on Saturdays will not be any service.

ANES Ferry Proteus

According to the 'new timetable' the "Proteus" will be sailing from the port of Volos every Monday at 8 am, Tuesday at 11 am, Wednesday at 16.30, Thursday at 11.30 am on Friday 8:00 a.m., Saturday at 13:30 and Sunday runs the Sporades itinerary - Mantoudi Evia, back and ending in Volos.
a shuttle service will be performed on Monday December 26 and January 2, 2017 on the itinerary Sporades - Mantoudi Evia, while Christmas Day, New Year and Epiphany, there will not be any sailings

Restricted 'week ahead' advance timetables available here

Latest News:

A new ferry service the AQUA JEWEL run by Alpha ferries is due to start service in mid February,
I am advised, the E Booking system will be open after the Christmas holiday.

First sailing expected to be on 15th February ...

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Καλό ταξίδι φίλε ...

Good Journey my friend ...

Yesterday we celebrated the life, of a dear Skiathos friend, John Jackman ...


On a wet blustery day, with challenging driving conditions. The sun appeared as if on cue (A gift from Skiathos) for our friend, as we bade him farewell, and a safe journey ...

We learned of his love of life, music, the nickname 'Mad Dog' and the love affair of his 28 year Skiathos adventure. Still planning a summer return, and looking for a passport, that was in a safe place. Beautiful words from the heart, and his beloved family ...

Afterwards - Much afterwards in my case, after an adventure in the one way system.
I finally made my entrance, after my Monty Python adventure, and met up with friends and family. To raise a glass, and a coffee cup for our absent friend ...

Good to see 'TJ & Fast Eddie' from the Boomerang club - Geoff and as we are on first name terms again. 'Tracey and Steve' the silent surfers from Sittingbourne ...

Yvonne Farouk, Tamara & Nick, you did John proud - Thank you for allowing us to share the moment, with you. John sending us away with a smile, looking on the bright side of life ...

PS Those pastries in the wrappers (Lebanese?) were delicious ...

Sunday, 20 November 2016

The day of the Panagia ...

This morning the church bells at Tries Hieraches will be ringing ...

The icon ...
Today its Panagia Kounistra, the islands festival day when the townsfolk return the miraculous icon, to the monastery at Kounistra, in a pilgramage across the hills on the old paths. The icon which was found in a tree, where the monastery at Kounistria, was built, is going home ...

Most of the village will be walking just after noon, heading up to Acropolis, carrying torches and picnic baskets. Young and Old alike, many of the old ladies will be barefoot. They will be met at Acropolis by men with guns who serenade with a volley of gunfire as the icon and the villagers pass by below. Then climbing up on the old paths to Katsarou, then over the hills, visiting shrines and finally up to Kounistra.

Once at Kounistra there will be a service and the villagers will rest and take Coffee, Tsipouro or make the return to town on the special buses, laid on for the event. Many will stay overnight with the Icon, then return in the morning over the hills to Tries Hieraches at first light.

The Skiathos Calendar by Betsy Barnard mentions ... 

21st Panayia Kounistra (The presentation of the mother of god in the temple, 
i.e. when she was taken to serve in the temple as a child aged about 12) 
On the morning of the 20th the miraculous icon is brought up to the top 
church and taken out of the town about 2.30. The bells ring in town at about 
1.00. People follow on foot on the old road to Kounistra. At the monastery 
of Kounistra an evening service, all night vigil, bonfires food, much 
feasting. Buses run to the monastery all evening. 
Early next morning, about 5am the icon is taken back along the old road to 
town, people following on foot. To Ayia Triada about 8am, down the old paved 
road to the Kalo Pigadi and along the main road to the Tries Hieraches. 
Service 9 - 10.30 ... 

This event is one of the 'must do' events for any true Skiathos Lovers ...

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Polytechneio ...

Today is Polytechneio day ...

Students, both young and not so young across Greece, will remember the Students uprising, and actions of the military junta in 1973.

Do read the link to 'A Gael in Greece' here it explained a lot more to me ...

On this day, the children in schools in Skiathos, take red carnations to school. The younger children draw or paint them, and take them home to their parents.

This is in memory of Nikos Beloyannis, A Greek resistance leader, sentenced to death for crimes against the state.

His wife gave him the carnation at court and he kept it throughout the whole trial, through to the day when he was sentenced to death. This image was captured in a sketch by Pablo Piccasso - Man with a Carnation ...



Later Update

The board of the Association of Parents and Guardians Skiathos Gymasium School invites all parents and guardians of school students at an extraordinary General Assembly, tomorrow 18th November at 19:30 in the school hall. 

Parents and Guardians will be updated on the latest developments on the issue of teacher shortages, discussion of serious issues that have arisen in the school and we will decide together on the actions of our Association. 

The presence of all, as always it is essential!

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Anyone fancy ...

A Skiathos Fix ? ...

Yes me too ...

Well if it was good enough for the Royal Marines, in 1944 ...


Then that's good enough for me too ...

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Leaving the church ...

Can be a little different ...

Most places that I have been, you have a polite handshake with the priest, and say see you next week.

On Skiathos, quite often you may find someone offering something for sale. Linen, goods for your home etc. In winter its not uncommon to have a stall or a van offering fresh fish, landed that morning.

At this time of the year, chestnuts are very popular, and very good they are too ...


So thanks to our friend, allowing me to take a photo, of his final preparations for the rush after the morning service ...

Good morning to Sifnos Man, hope you are enjoying your read of the papers ...

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Beach Cleaning ...




Friday 11 November 2016, Cleaning of the beach of Megai Gialos, activities led by the Cultural association of Skiathos.

The action was, an example of effective and successful cooperation between the municipality, cleaning service, port police, volunteers, the recycling company that operates on the island, and captain Lambros Choumas of the Kalypso, who provided the boat. Proving once again the interest of the society, for the protection of the islands unique environment.










The Cultural association of Skiathos. plans to perform beach cleaning throughout the course of the year, particularly in the northern beaches, where the poor access, and lack of professional activity, makes it very difficult cleaning them.

So launching this initiative with cleaning the beach of Megal Gialos, the unique beauty of which was outlined by Alexander Papadiamantis,in his books.

John Jackman (Update) ...

Friends, and fellow Skiathos Lovers ...

Many of you will know that a good friend of ours, passed away a short time ago. John Jackman was one of the regular contributors to the Bulletin Board. He was also the 'Father' of the Boomerang club, which I started back in 2006.

He was a Gentleman, and great friend to all of us. Telling us stories of his time on the island, and how he invented the island drink 'Frouzo' - Ouzo with Orange Juice, with the customs officer - Kostas Tsagaris many years ago ...

If anyone would like to make a donation in his memory, to the British Heart Foundation. They can be made through R.High & Sons, Funeral Directors, 1 Bayford Rd, Sittingbourne, Kent ME10 3AD. Tel: 01795 472958

Friday, 11 November 2016

Island Friends - Lest we forget ...

Will be gathering this morning, and taking part in the annual remembrance ...


If you are on the island, you are welcome to join them. Assemble by the Katsionis memorial, (torpedo on the old port)

The two  minutes silence, will be at 11am - everyone welcome ...

For my part, sadly this year. I will be elsewhere ...


My father around 1944, photo taken in Sydney Australia, British Pacific fleet.

He nearly drowned with his best friend, Raymond Smith, who rests in the Commonwealth war cemetery in Trincomalee. The only crew member of HMS Wager to lose his life in the wartime service of the ship ...

After commissioning, HMS Wager served first in home waters and in August 1944 was on the way through the Mediterranean Sea to join the East Indies Fleet based at Trincomalee in Ceylon. By February 1945 she, along with the other ships of the 27th Destroyer Flotilla, was part of the British Pacific Fleet (BPF) under Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser. The BPF worked closely with the US Navy over the months to the end of the war. HMS Wager, like all destroyers of the time (in the days before helicopters), was the workhorse of the fleet, carrying out despatch duties, escort work and picking up downed pilots, transferring them to aircraft carriers and so on. She was fortunate insofar as she was never the direct target of a kamikaze aircraft but he, and others on the bridge and upper deck of HMS Wager, would have seen such terrifying warfare at first hand, many a time, before taking part in the surrender of Japan, in Tokyo bay in 1945
http://www.hms-wager.org.uk/

Thursday, 10 November 2016

W.T.M.

I met up with friends from Skiathos yesterday ...

It was the final day of the World Travel Market at ExCeL London. Its the leading global event for the travel industry, WTM London welcomes all levels of participants in the business, from ministers to us humble bloggers ...

Our man from Skiathos - Panagiotis Diolettas the islands tourism representative, was there, working for Skiathos and he was a very busy man indeed.



He was in great demand, and doing a great job spreading the word about the 'Aegean Paradise' to interested parties from across the world. Panos spends a lot of his time in the winter, away from home, attending the trade fairs across Europe. Promoting Skiathos, and acting as ambassador for the island, on behalf of the Dimos - Skiathos council.

Also present at WTM were the islands major hoteliers, and travel companies, doing business and spreading the word ...

ExCeL was buzzing, and you forget just how big the place is. You could travel the world under one roof. So whilst he was busy, I did, and hopefully my two new friends, from Moulin Rouge in Paris will be visiting the island soon ...

I told them all about the beaches, and as they are both keen swimmers, will be after some lessons from a friend of mine. If they go clubbing, watch out for their high kicks, both the girls were taller than me!

Whilst there, I was 'I know you'd' by Andy from Thomas Cook. Amazing he even took a photo for his Mother in Law, and friend of the blog, Pauline - So 'Good morning to you' down in Staplehurst ...

Next year I will have some signed photos - Just in case.

Quote of the day – Why are you wearing a suit? My answer – Its too wet and cold for shorts ...

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

The result is being widely reported ...

Everywhere ...

The worlds greatest (mixed up) nation, appears to have made its choice ...

Even on a planet far,far away, the forthcoming final result was being heard over the airwaves ...

They voted for the alien ...

From Brexiteers to Trumpeteers, Politics has suddenly become more interesting. Clearly, the ballot box is the place to protest - Something they all learned from the Greeks, who started the ball rolling by voting 'Oxi' which finally meant 'Nai' in a ballot box coup ...

Its President Trump, the 45th President of the United States of America ...

Much later update:
America - Help is on the way, now that the 'special relationship' is apparently back on an even keel. You are now first in the queue, for a trade deal, from our man ...


There are some very stressed folks out there ...

Memo to all the Remain & anti- presidential people: The aim of an election or referendum, is to mobilise your supporters ON POLLING DAY, not on social media after the result.
In the morning message me to let me know, if the world is still spinning, and that you all slept well last night ...

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Who are we going to call ...

American friends are busy today ...

Around 319 million mixed up people are voting, in the greatest show on earth. Watching from the outside, of the goldfish bowl. Its the X factor and Strictly all wrapped up in one.

Book that ticket ...

Only two real choices, Crooked Hilary or Dodgy Donald, the world waits for the people of the 'greatest nation' to make up its mind ...

Tonight one of them is going to say, 'God Bless the United States of America' ...

To think you were worried about Brexit, Article 50, and court challenges, to what the people wanted. One of these candidates, has a finger on the nuclear button ...

Never mind - Only 47 days until Christmas, but at least by then - One of them will have proudly saved a turkey ...

Late thought, just in ...

Well done Prince Harry, doing more for Anglo American relations, than Obama did, and the two current candidates for the presidency probably ever will ...

Thursday, 3 November 2016

This mornings rumble ...

Did you feel it ...

An early morning alarm call from the seismic gods,
Must be the centaurs from Pelion, stamping their feet again ...

Magnitude M 2.9
Region AEGEAN SEA
Date time 2016-11-03 02:57:41.9 UTC
Location 39.19 N ; 23.47 E
Depth 8 km
Distances 136 km N of Athens, Greece / pop: 730,000 / local time: 04:57:41.9 2016-11-03
95 km E of Lamía, Greece / pop: 47,300 / local time: 04:57:41.9 2016-11-03
49 km SE of Vólos, Greece / pop: 84,500 / local time: 04:57:41.9 2016-11-03
4 km NW of Skíathos, Greece / pop: 5,200 / local time: 04:57:41.9 2016-11-03

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Pop it in the postbox ...

That's what you do ...

Stories of postcards stuck in down island mail boxes are legendary, some sitting by the till in supermarkets waiting to be posted, They make their way home the following season.

So we have been conducting a test of the system ...

ΕΛΤΑ Greece to UK

Letters:
Four to five days (Posted on Monday)

Parcels:
Sent from Skiathos (Posted on Monday) - 6/7 days

Not bad going at all ...

Royal Mail UK to Greece

Letters:
Seven to fourteen days (Posted on Monday)

International track and trace - If you need something signed for.

Posted 18th October (Expected delivery 4/5 days)
Arrived in Athens 1st November - 14 days later, only two more to go to Skiathos

Thinking of sending a parcel? - Post those Easter Eggs now, before its too late ...

UK to Greece the RM post goes via another company GLS. It can end up either in the Greek post office or at the ACS couriers in town. The RM have axed a number of the services to Greece, You either post it, or take a chance with track and trace if its of value.

Which is what I did for a friend in need ...

The RM also do not like the use of post box numbers, which is a shame as most of the folks out of town have one. Its what you do, rather than wait for the guys to sort through the mail, to see if you have a letter, at the counter.

Always best to ignore the RM counter staff, and add a contact number for the recipient, to the outside of the envelope - just in case, if its important.

Again, Which is what I did ...

RM post stops off in Germany, where it seems to take a short break, probably taking in the sights, and probably including the Oktoberfest ...

The RM suggest the last posting date for Christmas is Saturday 10 December. Which based on current form, would be rather optimistic ...

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Kalo Mina - Νοέμβριος

Good Month to the fans of the blog, καλό μήνα σε όλους ...

Its always a day of memories for me, not least to the friends, neighbours, and the expats of Skiathos, who did so much to help SWMBO in her time of need. Is it really two years since that afternoon in the King and Queen ...

So much has happened to her since that day, we are deeply indebted to our island friends ...

Today is the 'Day of the dead' in Poland, where they remember those that have passed, and visit the cemeteries. Leaving them looking like this ...

Photo: Kamila Rybicka
 · 
Anyone who visits the Skiathos town cemetery after dark, will have seen something similar ...

My learned friend also advises that its the first day of the Skiathos bonfire season, expect smog descending from the hills ...

So today, feeling rather tired after a sleepless night, and not the best start to the month. but almost the same as three years ago. Only this time after a very rare visit to the doctor, has resulted in a series of tests and a cough that would probably shatter glass at 100m ...

It all dates back to a case of Skiathos flu, which hit me like a sledgehammer on 17th March 2013 after the best Apokries party ever. Since then the chest has never been the same again. I knew it was not a good idea to go out last night ...

However Junior was told she was the prettiest pirate ever ...

Anyone who read yesterdays post may like to know the intestine cake, really was quite good. This morning the green face cake, was equally delicious.

Memories ...

PS Today I tried to pay some money into an account in cash - Unbelievably difficult, I thought cash was king. Funds withdrawn, by a friend from a heavily vandalised ATM, where the front screen had been smashed in by a disgruntled customer.
Bring on the 12 sided coin, I know where I am going with them ...