Thursday, 29 December 2016

Stormy Weather ...

Last night ...

Nikos Paschalis advises, Skiathos is the third wettest place in Greece this morning. 32mm of rain recorded in the last 24 hours.



It has been very windy, Skiathos and Skopelos have both had a dusting of snow at high level. However has escaped the worst of the winter weather. Not enough for a toboggan run yet.

Photo by kind {permission of Victoria Sandels
Meanwhile in Athens ...


Its a different story, with snow at all levels ...

Keep Talking Greece have some great photos of the weather conditions, from across Greece. You can access their site on the link here ...

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Late news from the sleeping newsroom ...

Well because it is late, and I have been out most of the day ...

How are you recovering from the Christmas excess? Was it a Mince pie too far? or did you Bridge over the Christmas pud on the longest gastronomic gut busting holiday of the year?

Well we are enjoying our first proper Christmas holiday ...

This morning I was watching the sun rise on a freezing beach.
Yesterday we were with friends, and I was wine waiter for the day. I looked on amazed at a 6am 200 yard queue to grab clothing in a sale - Why on earth ?
The day before that we had a great family time, walking and had some fun in the pub
The day before that, I went to see my Auntie and went to church, with SWMBO & Junior. SWMBO cooked us a Polish banquet ...


Maybe ...

You get the general idea - meanwhile ...

New flights:

Lufthansa's budget little brother Eurowings, will be flying from Stuttgart (Baden-Württemberg) airport to Skiathos in 2017.

Power disruption:

Due to the bad weather (Surely not in Skiathos) the power is off in Kalivia. Of course if the power is off - This is not much use to you. But when you get back from trying to start the generator - (Wishing you had serviced it back in the summer). At least you will know the reason why ...

PS it should be fixed by 23:00hrs - 'not sure what day' ...

So batten down the hatches, secure those shutters, against the Siberian blast. Chuck another log into the woodburner, or if you are on UK holidays try not to laugh at those, who still on the rock. Some who may well be shivering, and wondering, why has it gone dark, 'no one told me about this' and whats wrong with the aircon?

Back to my holiday break, and looking forward, to a rather nice Merlot, after a couple of dry days

Well I have drunk a lot of coffee today so sleep may not come easy anyway ...

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Island life ...

From years gone by ...

Nick Yerasimos posted this earlier, and Its worth sharing, even if you have seen it before. I think I caught a glimpse, of my dearly departed neighbour Theodore in the boatyard as a young man ...


Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Χρόνια πολλά για μένα ...

Happy Birthday to me ...

In accordance with my own time honoured tradition, I am having a day off. So will be off for a nice cup of Mint tea, and a slice of cake, with SWMBO & Junior some time later. I have a few crazy days ahead, so better pace myself accordingly.

Happy winter solstice, which reminds me,  The solstice occurs at 10:44 GMT, marking the start of astronomical winter and the shortest day of the year. So if you are dancing naked at Stonehenge - Well done to you. The sun will soon start climbing in the sky again. So it will soon be summer again.

Remember "A birthday is just the first day of another 365-day journey around the sun" - (Other newspapers are available) ...

Enjoy the trip, and your day wherever you are .....

Post Solstice update: 
Just for me learned friend in Norway, the famous Stig, as he reminded me of it earlier, and if you read the comments may wonder what we are on about :)

December 21 - 20`13 Skiathian Stonehenge ...



Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Just in time ...

For tomorrow, and of course Christmas ...

Two litres ...
The 2016 Limoncello, that started its life on 'a small green island in the aegean' and spent six months in a dark place.

Winter will be warming up, thanks to friends of the blog, Kay & Trevor 'my scrumpers' for their dedication, and hard work ...

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Its been a long time ...

But the time has come ...

After Panic Saturday its now Super Sunday ...

Six months ago today, the Skiathos airlift by Kay & Trevor arrived. The lemons were pressed into the best service that I could think of - 'Skiathian Limoncello' ...


If you like you can recall that day here ...


After a six month 'fermentation' and the mother of all struggles getting the lids off, we have just over a litre of raw hooch. Its a dry lemon vodka at the moment and 'pretty good stuff' according to SWMBO and knows about these things, having lived in the woods 'in the deepest darkest days of communism' ...

Next step will be to make a sugar syrup, cool it mix it and bottle the goods ...

Later update ...

Trevor - send me your address, via the usual means. I will get some of it to you, in the next week or so once the strikes are over, and I have recovered whats left of the shed, after the minor mishap in the bottling process ...


Saturday, 17 December 2016

A winter ferry ...

The Aqua Ferries Myrtidiotissa returns to the island run ...

After a coat of paint, a bottom scrape, and a tune up of the old diesels.

The  service will run from Aghios Konstantinos, on Friday/Saturday & Sunday only - starting on Friday 23rd December.

You can find the timetable for the service, on the link here, Along with the daily schedule, for the Pasca holiday ...

Later Update:
John Gill's funeral took place this afternoon.
Daphne has written an informative post, over on SkopelosNews ...

Friday, 16 December 2016

RIP John Gill ...

Saddened to learn this evening, from Daphne, that John Gill who co wrote the Skopelosnews blog, has passed away, I understand that John had been ill for some time ...

He was a lovely man, and we always had a great banter via E Mail, and a 'beer or two' when he visited Skiathos, en route somewhere, often crewing a yacht as Skipper round the islands

John was the duty journalist, who broke the news for the Daily Express, of the passing of the Princess of Wales. He was the only one that night with an Apple Mac, who could change the front page, and stop the presses on that fateful morning in Fleet Street.

Καλό ταξίδι φίλε to a lovely gentleman, and neighboring island friend. Who will be so sorely missed by all of us, who were lucky enough to know him ...

Geof's Christmas 2016 Skiathos Newsletter ...

I found the latest newsletter in an old Yahoo account. Geof is probably getting lots of interesting letters from Russian ladies, as a result of the latest hack ...

Its a great read, and I am sure he will not mind me sharing it here ...

Hello & welcome to the Christmas 2016 Skiathos Newsletter.

I have a bit of a gloomy start to this one, but it gets better as it goes along :o)
What is happening in Skiathos at the moment? Well, not a lot! Usually, after the season closes, and the locals have money in their pockets, they frequent the cafes, tavernas and tsipouratheka, to meet, talk, eat & drink, in the old Greek tradition of “Paraya,” (company). This is a basic facet of Greek life, good company is what they all seek, and they will spend many hours talking with friends and discussing the latest news (which in these days means, “the latest crisis”). This year, it is very quiet Even though Skiathos has a thriving economy, thanks to tourism, and the locals have money to spend (unlike on mainland Greece), everyone is now afraid of what the future will bring. There is no sign that the “Troika” of the European Commission, European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, will ease the austerity measures imposed on the Greek people, and people are losing hope that their lives will ever get any better. Taxes are going up all the time (VAT was almost doubled on the Greek Islands in the last 3 years, from 13% to 24%!), but the Greeks don’t see any benefit of this. Instead, more belt tightening measures are introduced. But how much can you tighten your belt before you starve? Nevertheless, we in Skiathos should not complain, as we are doing OK. The problem is that the fear is there, so people do not go out, do not invest their money, and stay at home hearing ever more bad news on the TV. The money is not turning over, to create more benefits for all.
People who come here on holiday do not see these problems as the locals are always cheery and welcoming, and still have that basic foundation of Greek life, “Philoksenia”, the befriending of strangers. And the tourists are, of course, very welcome. Without them, our lives would be as hard as those of the Greeks on the mainland. Philoksenia comes from ancient Greek times. If a stranger appeared at your door looking for food and shelter, you invited him/her in without asking questions, shared whatever food you had (whether it was a lot or almost nothing), and gave them a bed for the night. The underlying basis for this was that maybe the stranger was a god! By the same token, one of the most heinous crimes back then (& still now) was to abuse that freely offered friendship and shelter in any way. So, when you come to Skiathos for your holiday, know that you are helping many people in many ways, but also understand that you are receiving something of real worth. It’s not just down to sun, sand, and sea, you are receiving the genuine friendliness of a warm-hearted people.
In the meantime, that which makes Skiathos so special, is still here. The beauty, the green of the forest, the incredible views, the beaches, the nearby islands and the mainland (where you can find wonderful tavernas), the quieter north sides beaches, the walks on unspoilt trails, the sailing and boating, the water sports, the diving and snorkeling, and the wonderful, affordable food. In all our travels, we have seen some amazing places, with spectacular scenery, beaches many kilometers long, old forests, different foods, warm hearted people, oceans that go on forever, - but Skiathos seems to distill all of these things into one island. When we return here, we always find ourselves saying. “Ah, but Skiathos – this is special!”. We wouldn’t want to live in any other place on the Earth.
What is happening is that they are digging up the roads again in Town to get the new water pipes in place, which we hope will eventually lead to the Town water being drinkable again. This will help minimizing the amount of plastic water bottles being used. The recycling company (born out of the ashes of The Green Fox), has been working very well, and is getting many tons of plastic, paper & cardboard, metal and aluminium cans, off the island. The airport will shortly be taken over by a German company so we should have a bit more efficiency there. We hope that they will, at least, fix the toilets! Unfortunately, the new Gym has a problem as no vapour barrier was put down before the parquet floor was laid, and that is now swelling up and becoming uneven. Steps, apparently, will be taken - hopefully before anyone trips up! The roads in Skiathos have now become very good, with the company that extended the airport having used airport grade asphalt when resurfacing. The worst road is now the one to Aghia Eleni, but that is slated to be re done this spring. The dirt roads going to the North side always get eaten by rain in the winter but the plans are to have these all re-graded in the spring time. We are dickering with the Town Council to see if they will give us some material so that we can put more concrete down on our road, particularly on the up and down bits, so that we don’t have to bring a machine every spring to smooth these out. We will put in the labour, if they will supply us with the materials, otherwise it will be too expensive for us.
Our bookings for next year in the two villas (www.zorbathes.com) are already very good, and we have not even got to the New Year yet, which is usually the time when we receive most of our reservations. We have upgraded The Barn Villa with a brand-new kitchen and we are planning for a shadier area outside on the patio. The villas rent very well, and the feedback on TripAdvisor is always 5 star! If you would like to share the peace and quiet we offer here, don’t wait too long with getting a reservation in!
Real estate is selling steadily and well. We are still far from the heady days of the early 2000’s, but the market is slowly picking up. We are now getting enquiries for plots of land and that didn’t happen for quite a long time. A client is looking for land to build a hotel, so that is an encouraging sign. The Xenia Hotel is being re-built and there are plans to develop all the land around with small villas, each with its own pool. I refer to “we” as I have passed over most of the work in the real estate brokerage to my three Greek partners: a civil engineer and two architects. However, the locals don’t want me to retire and I will almost certainly be a consultant for Skiathos Property for some time to come. See all our properties at: wwwskiathosproperty.com
On the weather front, Skiathos is becoming dryer and dryer. Among the many hats I wear, I am still, basically, a farmer, and we continue to grow a small patch of organic vegetables for our own use (giving any excess to our guests in the villas). So, the weather plays a big role in our lives. Fortunately, the Donald has told us that there is no climate change, it’s just a Chinese hoax, so we don’t have to worry about that any more. This year should have been an olive year (they usually produce every second year), but with very little rainfall last winter (& not much the winter before) the olives couldn’t get enough moisture from the ground to sustain a crop, and all the olives fell off the trees! Although Skiathos now doesn’t rely on its olives for a living, we all miss not having our own olive oil from our own trees. Likewise, our orange and lemon trees have fruit, but they are much smaller than usual, even though I spent a lot of time watering them during the summer. If we don’t get good, long rains in the winter, the trees cannot support a crop. So far, we have had a bit of rain, but our stream beds continue to stay dry and they should be running strongly by now. I worry!
We are off to Bucharest for Christmas, to see some friends there, and experience something a bit different. Our daughter Mara will be joining us from Copenhagen at Athens Airport, and we will all fly from there. Christmas is a pretty quiet time in Skiathos, with, fortunately, none of the commercialism that pervades now. New Year’s Eve is even quieter, as it is a family occasion for the Greeks and nearly all (sometimes all!) the tavernas and cafes are shut in the evening. Some bars open after midnight, but that is far too late for old codgers like us!
Well, I will leave you all with the sun shining in through my “office” window, the taste of my home made tsiporo (delicious) in my mouth, and the crackle of the log fire in our hearth.
I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a happy and healthy 2017.
Regards,
Geof.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Oops - easyjet made a typo ...

'Someone is going to get fired :) ...

Volos appeared as a new destination in the December issue of the official magazine of the company distributed free of charge to passengers of flights! The reply given by the press office of the company with which it contacted magnesianews.gr

Commissioner for European SMEs Matteo Taddei replied as follows:

easyJet would like to apologize for the error that appeared in the December issue of the Traveller magazine. EasyJet is constantly evaluating options for new destinations to its European network, but does not plan to start flights to and from Volos, at this stage.

easyJet remains committed to Greece as a key market for the company. It carries over 2.6 mil. Passengers annually and is happy to announce four new destinations from December 13 now reach their 76.

The 'I have it on good authority', and 'my best friend just told me' posts have been swiftly deleted on FB overnight :) ...

Monday, 12 December 2016

Walkies ...

More good news, this time from the Dog shelter ...

A holiday romance - Read the full article here ...


You too could make so much difference to the life of an unwanted dog. Plenty of dogs looking for forever homes, at the Skiathos Dog shelter  ...


Sunday, 11 December 2016

Easyjet - LGW & MAN to Volos ...

Looks like the big orange is getting nearer ...

Speculation on the fly to Volos FB page yesterday, appears to have some substance, after all - Original article see:  http://magnesianews.gr

'Huge expectations for the tourism development of the area created by the accession of the airport of N.Anchialou to new destinations in the low-cost carrier easyjet based in London Luton Airport. As shown enduring institutions efforts and individuals expressed by collecting signatures online, they paid off and convinced the managers of the company that Volos worth is a destination that will be sustainable, since Greece is a traditional destination for British, while many have chosen the South Pelion for their permanent residence and their business activities. The benefits of course relate to the wider region of Thessaly and Central Greece for the inhabitants of which should be made aware that this airport was created for their own service.

The news "popped" when local people passengers traveled with flight company caught hold of the December issue of the journal Easyjet Traveller distributed free of charge to passengers of Easy Jet. There they found that the company has added and Volos, among other destinations, to plan flights reportedly will be announced very soon.

As stated speaking in the airport master magnesianews.gr of N.Anchialou Mr. Costas Efstathiou airport, discussions with leaders of the company began in September. Volos was responsible for the Greek airports Dodi Grip who along with the technical echelons inspected premises and airport infrastructure in order to verify the the standard of EasyJet in terms of passenger safety and service aircraft and other issues . As Mr. Eustatius route is expected to start immediately and is probably two per week, probably to London (Gatwick) and Manchester, while not ruled out the inclusion of additional services in the future. The good news for the airport N.Anchialou but do not stop here, as according to Mr. Efstathiou have expressed interest and other companies to start services to and from Volos while avoiding to give more information. The EasyJet today flies to Athens, Thessaloniki, Rhodes, Kos, Heraklion, Chania, Santorini, Kalamata, Mykonos, Zakynthos, Kefalonia and Corfu'

We shall see ...

Update 15/12/2016 - Early April fools day joke ...

Saturday, 10 December 2016

A message from SWMBO (Update) ...

Dear friends,

Let me share with you my news.


There has been a while since my operation in July. A very tough time for myself, and my family. Another major procedure in my life, and I hope the last one.

Last week I had two appointments at Royal Marsden with my surgeon and radiologist. Both check-ups went well. I still can’t believe that they said I am at least for now, cancer free.

When my surgeon said: 'Your scans are clear Kamila' I asked: Are you sure? Then we had a long chat about my situation now. No one can promise me that cancer will not be back, but I have a chance to live longer without than with cancer.

He gave me some advice: ‘Stop worry about having cancer back’ etc. ‘Just live like every day is your last day’ He also told me it’s normal, that I do not trust the doctors when they say that everything is ok with me, after what I have been through.

I know it is not over. I still have a lot of appointments, check-ups, scans ahead but now I have hope, that I am going to see my daughter growing up, and my husband growing older :)

I am so grateful for all the support from my oncology consultants. Especially doctor Sarah Payne, who was the only one who fought for me, even when others said there was no hope. She said ‘let’s try every avenue’ she sent letters to the other hospitals asking for help. Thanks to her alone, a miracle happened.

My last option, the Royal Marsden invited me for an appointment and a chat. There were no promises but they said: let’s try. But first try another six treatments. Next time they said ‘We will see you in surgery’.

They are no words to thank my surgeon doctor Rasheed, and his team for all what they have done for me. There is no other hospital in UK which makes that kind of procedure, and not many in Europe at all.

I would like to thank all of you for being for me there, when I was in a dark place during a year of Chemotherapy, and toxic drugs. Thank you again and again for your positive thoughts, prayers, messages, emails, letters, cards, flowers, and all positive vibes when I needed them most. I knew I was not alone and so many people, were thinking of and supporting me.

A special thank you to the friends who came a long way to visit, both UK and all the way from Skiathos.

And finally, a big thank to my husband Ian and my daughter Ollie. Without them that would never happened. They stood by me, kept me strong, and never let me give up (even if at times, I really wanted to).

I am going to close ‘Kamila’s fight for life’ page very soon. It’s been four and a half years of pain and surgery. That was a long journey, but it’s time now, to move on and live.

Have a great Christmas everyone, we might even have one too for a change. Thank you all for being there for me. When I needed you most, and could not tell you.

Life is good
Kamila xxx


Later update: 11/12/2016

Kamila's fight for life (86 comments posted)
Dear friends,


WOW! I have never expected response like that. 

I know the many of have been affected by cancer somehow. I also believe people like happy news, rather something scary or terrible. So, perhaps I made your day, and you certainly have made mine! 
Thank you all for your kind words, wishes messages and tears. 
That means a lot to me and I will never forget it! 
Have a wonderful cheerful Christmas, fulfil it with love, and the company of people who are important to you. That’s what matters for me the most! 

Have a very Merry Christmas! xx

A message from SWMBO ...

How many of you remember that post ...

Without a doubt, the most difficult one I ever had to write on the blog.

Many of you may have seen it and wondered what happened next. Many friends on Skiathos, locals, islanders, the ex pat community, friends of the blog, got together to help.

We were humbled then, and still are to this day, by what happened next.
SWMBO had a FB page, and updated the just giving site. Many people stayed in touch, and followed her journey, and even came to visit.

Later today, SWMBO is going to post you an update here. So you can read (If you wish) about her fight for life ...

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

More news ...

The Christmas trees look good, and there are still a few of the Daleks around ...

Photo: SkiathosTV FB page
This little female pup has recently been stolen from the dog shelter. Someone climbed over the fence (breaking it in one part) and took the pup.

Photo: Skiathos Dog Shelter FB page
If you see the pup with anyone please, please contact the shelter on their FB page or phone the shelter on 6978 436589. The pup has a home waiting for her when she is old enough to travel.

Late News: Jan advises THE PUP HAS BEEN FOUND! 
I received a phone call a short while ago, she is now happy and asleep by my side at home.

Jet 2 has announced that it will be offering new routes from the UK. Sadly Skiathos is not one of them. However if you ever want to go to Thessaloniki, and take the boat to Skiathos - This could be your year. Click the link for further details ...

The Indian has reopened Saturday the 17th December will be a Buffet night €15 a head, and every Saturday after that. Normal menu the rest of the week ...

Latest news on the cobbles, is that the new Chinese restaurant, is now scheduled to open in April ...

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Island news ...

Its Saint Nikolaos day today ...

Which means it not only a special day for the original Santa Claus, its a special day for all those who share the same name day. So Χρόνια πολλά to all the Nikolaos, Nikoleta, Nikos, Nicholas, Nicolas, and Nick out there ...

Its that wonderful time of the year ...

The Skiathos Christmas party season is in full swing - for the children anyway. The schools are holding their annual get togethers for the children,and Santa is a very busy man indeed.

Table top sale (Sunday 4th December)

The table top sale, at Milos went very well, but it was a 'Black Friday' rush
When doors opened at 11am, the stalls were mobbed, then almost all were empty by 12 clock ...

Skiathos Dog Shelter (FB page)
Yesterday at 03:37
A very big "THANK YOU" to Lou & Bob for arranging and fronting the Table Top Sale at the Mylos Taverna yesterday (Sunday).and also to those who kindly donated items to our table and came to support us. An Amazing Amount of 370 euros was raised!!!! This amount will help towards the food for the dogs during the cold winter months ahead. Many thanks from us all xx

Christmas Bazaar (December 11th)

The annual Christmas Bazaar will be held at the Gymnassium school, on Sunday December 11th from 11am until 5pm.

       

Its a great social occasion, and time for some souvelaki, and a cup of mulled wine, with the rest of the village ...

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Kalo Mina - Δεκέμβριος ...

Kαλό μήνα σε όλους - Good Month - December ...

Yes it's December - the official month of acceptable daytime drinking. (Yes I meant coffee)  It is the season to be jolly, after the winter blast, that has chilled the island  ...

December is the month of acceptable excess ...

- Christmas enters its 4th month in the shops
- Chocolate for breakfast, for the sugar hit, and feel good factor
- Fridge visits triple until you learn the chocolate is on the top shelf, of the adjacent cupboard
- Scissors/sellotape vanish almost and as if by magic
- Mulled everything - Yes why not, you say regardless 'Chin Chin'


Its the first day of Advent, and the last month of the year, just 25 days until Christmas, and 31 more until the 'quietest day of the year' - New years eve, bar the shotguns at midnight.

Its also the last chance to get on a ferry to the mainland, but you will have to shift quick, after the weather related cancellations of the last few days. ANES Proteus is doing a double run to the mainland departing at 07:45 and at 19:00 hrs

The Seafarers union, has called a 48-hour nationwide strike in all categories of ships from 6.00 am Friday, December 2, until 6.00 am Sunday, December 4

Even the boat crew would rather be tucked up on the mainland, until Sunday ...