Friday, 30 November 2018

Storm, and road tax ...

After another rather wet stroll to the Skiathos post office ...

Its Fish Friday ...

Only it won't be, as the trawlers have not been out yesterday, or today, due to the weather. In place of 'no fish friday' here is last night's meze offering.


The traffic, and parking was rather crazy this morning. Especially in the peak coffee drinking hour.



It was very hard to avoid getting wet, run over or splashed wherever you went, around town.

Luckily the Wood burner in the Gerani, was fired up, and dried out my clothes.

Log mark 5 ...
We had frequent and at times heavy rain showers, accompanied by local power cuts, before the storm finally blew itself out, at lunchtime ...


Still a bit nippy though and the sun started to break through ...

Calendar orders:

Your calendars, were posted over the last two days, and will depart the island today. As today we have a ferry service. Yesterday the Express Skiathos was held in port here overnight, due to the stormy weather.


It will be back later after a delayed trip to the islands ...

Road tax:

If you own a vehicle in Greece, the road tax-payment of this year has now been published. Please be aware, that you have to pay this tax before 31/12 2018. Otherwise it will be doubled ...

Previous Blog: Strong winds ...

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Strong winds ...

After a very blustery night, a weather warning is in place ...


29th - 08:00hrs

Thursday 29/11, Raining with a temperature of 8 degrees Celsius and almost gale-force northerly winds, with an intensity that will reach 7 on the beaufort scale.

29th - 14:00hrs

The afternoon and evening hours, the weather will show the same scene, with rain, with the temperature at 7 degrees Celsius and strong winds from the north-east with an intensity up to 7 on the beaufort scale.

Megali Amos - Power failure

The power was off in Megali Amos, Apparently the supply caused by an issue on the mainland

Flying Dolphin Erato

Remains off schedule until further notice, due to the mechanical failure of the right engine ...

Express Skiathos

From today, a 30% discount for vehicles, for holders of the seamiles card.

Calendars

Just back from a rather wet and windy stroll, Just sent another bundle, via the post office. On their way to the UK ...

Previous Blog: Pavement works ...

Late news: The Express Skiathos is moored here on Skiathos, it did not depart for Skopelos following its arrival this morning. This due to the weather conditions ...

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Pavement works ...

Works have started ...

Planning for the forthcoming elections oops ...

Funds have been provided for additional maintenance of the provincial road of Skiathos – Koukounaries", with a budget of 300.000,00€ (three hundred thousand euro)

The works involve installing footpaths at Achladies near the Esperides hotel. Also much needed footpaths in Troulos and from Skiathos Palace hotel in Koukounaries.
In addition work repairing the asphalt, cleaning culverts, placement of guardrails and road markings.

Happy no ferry day, yes it's a strike day so stay indoors with a good book.

I was reminded there was a warning, that the humble Mars may become a rarity in the UK, when the NASA InSight lander touched down on Mars. Great effort, made it before #Brexit when the planets will apparently become more scarce.

Milky way may have been a better option if there were a second vote ...


Good news: Plenty in the Minimarket, and just 70c each. Thats the Spring airlift to blighty sorted.

I was collecting stamps yesterday, quite a few at the post office, firstly dispatching calendars, and watching politely as about twenty more, in different colours, and with great force were applied to some A4 papers.

Name ... Fathers name ... Mothers name ... Wife's name ...

Q: Is that country in the EU?
A: Yes of course it is, along with 27 others ...

Q: I thought you were leaving?
A: Not just yet, and not without that paper ...

Stamp lands again, and he laughed ...

I remembered my own stamp machine, as the old fashioned stamps, made their mark. Mine was a semi automatic, self inking, sadly I was not allowed to keep it.

It had signed off hundreds of thousands in orders in its time. Probably now residing in a landfill, waiting to be found in a few centuries time, in pristine working order under the clay ...

I still have the office nameplate, but dont tell anyone ...

Previous Blog: The airlift begins ...




Tuesday, 27 November 2018

The airlift begins ...

If you ordered one ...

The first ones, will be starting their journey, to 'friends of the blog' north of the alps, later today.

It's been good to hear from regular contacts, and quite a few new friends, who have not touched base, with the blog before. Popped in to buy a calendar, and bought all the stock ...

Hope you like stamps ...
Those who have been in touch, and ordered 'one or two' keep an eye on your email inbox. Hopefully an eye on the post box this weekend, for deliveries 'from the rock' ...

The next uplift to the post office, will be on Thursday, after the ferry strike tomorrow.

Today is ferry dash Tuesday, run for the ferry from the mainland, this morning. Or run for the ferry to the mainland this afternoon. Wednesday, is an off day, no going off anywhere else. No flying cat, until at least Thursday, as the spanners are still in use.

Not sure which Thursday, answers on a post card ...

Previous Blog: Flying Dolphin Erato/Ferry Strike ...

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Flying Dolphin Erato/Ferry Strike ...

Its that time of year ...


It was announced by the Skiathos Port Authority, the captain of Flying Dolphin Erato following his arrival at the port of the island - operating a scheduled route from Volos to Skiathos, Glossa, Skopelos town, to Alonissos, had mechanical damage to the right engine.

The ship disembarked at the port 44 passengers, who were taken to their destinations by the shipowner.

Flying Dolphin Erato will not sail again, before the ferry strike on 28th of November.

Ferry Strike

Ferries will stay in port on  Wednesday 28 November, No services to or from the islands of the Northern Sporades. Skiathos Express and Erato will not be operating, due to the 24-hour strike by the  Pan-Hellenic Naval Federation.

The strike action by the PNO, which includes  all categories of ships, will start at 00:01 on Wednesday 28 November and will end at 24:00 on the same day.

Previous Blog: Black Friday ...

Friday, 23 November 2018

Black Friday ...

Is upon us ...

Take it from me, I am not rushing out to the online stores ...
My nice new tablet is £40 more on BF, than what I paid on a wet afternoon a few months ago.

As Black Friday sales begin, in the UK. The Prime Minister takes two years deciding what to get, and still ends up paying a fortune for something nobody wanted.

Its a rip off, talking of which ...
Once again, Matt captures the nations mood.


Are we on the Starship Enterprise? 'Its Brexit Jim, but not as we know it' ...

Black Friday update:

Loving these Black Friday Sales!

I have saved £400 by not buying a new TV, £250 by not buying a new tablet, £75 by not buying a new vacuum cleaner, and £25 by not buying a widget for the wossit, that we never wanted in the first place. 

I expect to save hundreds more during the course of the day. Just by not buying any other stuff at all.

The one advantage of 'Black Friday' is that you get to find out all the retailers that still have your e-mail details - and you can unsubscribe from them all, without spending any money in their shops ...

Previous Blog: Urgent call ...

Orders have been flooding in from good hearted friends of Skiathos, who want to support the 'Retired Seamens Association of Skiathos' by purchasing a calendar and hats off to you all ...

Black friday offer: When in Rome ...

I have some amazing Black Friday calendar deals. 
They include Buy One Get One, 
Buy One at Twice the Price and you get One Free, 
and Buy 3 sell 2 on, and get 66% Cash Back ...

Remember the promotional code: When in Rome ...


Thursday, 22 November 2018

Urgent call ...

I was standing next to this bloke in the changing room at my local gym yesterday when a mobile phone rings.

He was getting dry so he puts it on loudspeaker. I thought straightaway what a smug bast**d!

MAN: "Hello"

WOMAN: "Honey, it's me. Are you at the gym?"

MAN: "Yes"

WOMAN: "I am at Lakeside now and found this beautiful leather coat.

It' s only £1,000. Is it OK if I buy it?"

MAN: "Sure, ..go ahead if you like it that much."

WOMAN: "I also stopped by the Mercedes dealership and saw the new 2018 models. I saw one I really liked."

MAN: "How much?"

WOMAN: "£90,000"

MAN: "OK, but for that price I want it with all the options."

WOMAN: "Great! Oh, and one more thing .... The house I wanted last year is back on the market. They're asking £950,000"

MAN: "Well, then go ahead and give them an offer of £900,000. They will probably take it. If not, we can go the extra 50 thousand.

WOMAN: "OK. I'll see you later! I love you so much!!"

MAN: "Bye! I love you, too."

The man hangs up. The other men in the locker room are staring at him in astonishment, mouths agape ...

He smiles and asks: "Anyone know who this phone belongs to?"

'Smile your day can only get better after reading this' ...

Want a Calendar - Get in touch
Previous Blog: Retired Seamens Association of Skiathos - 2019 Calendar ...

Is that my longest page link ever?

Late News: The 1st calendar has arrived at its destination.
Friend of the blog Andrew Musgrove writes - 'Calender arrived very pleased with it, thankyou'

Miracle of miracles the 'first class post' still works. Door to door in under 24 hours ...

Orders flooding in from good hearted friends of Skiathos, who want to support the 'Retired Seamens Association of Skiathos' and hats off to you all ...

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Retired Seamens Association of Skiathos - 2019 Calendar ...

Its that time of year ...

The Retired Seamen's Association of Skiathos 2019 calendar is available, on the island.
I have shipped a few of these in the past, to friends across europe, via the blog ...


If you want a copy - €5 plus P&P - If anyone is interested in one drop me an email and I will get back to you with the details. They will either be posted from the island, or from the UK, in time for Christmas.

This year its theme is colour photos/prints of sailing ships, and has been printed in both colour & Black and White. The text is in both Greek and in English ...

Mr Tsipouro already has his copy ...

Early update: First orders have arrived ...
Later update: First ones are on their way, and recipients advised, The future orders will be despatched within the next week ...

Panagia Kounistria:

The traditional shotgun volley at Acropolis, as the Icon is taken to Kounistria yesterday (20th November ...


The Icon was brought back to the village this morning, after leaving Kounistria is the dark. Carried by the villagers via the mountain paths ...

Photo: Ό,τι συμβαίνει στη Σκιάθο 

Μεταφορά της εικόνας της Παναγίας στην Σκιάθο - Transfer of the image of the virgin to Skiathos.

Previous Blog: Back Home ...

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Its 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 ... 

Buses will operate from Terminus and Acropolis to the Monastery from 14:00hrs until 23:00hrs

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

Previous Blog: Panagia Kounistria - Parking restrictions ...

Monday, 19 November 2018

Panagia Kounistria - Parking restrictions ...

Parking of vehicles in Skiathos is prohibited, due to the procession of the Holy Image of the Virgin Icon of Kounistria in the following areas:

1). Square of the Holy Trinity Church (from Restaurant Amfiliki all the vehicles on the right)
Holy Temple of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, (also applies to licensed vehicles).

2). Cemetery Square, (for vehicles located in the centre and those to the right of the cemetery).

3). Square of the Holy Metropolitan Church of Trion Hierarchs, Kappadoka cobbled streets (all vehicles from the Tsilliaraki confectionery to Kava Kopsidaki).

4). On the Papadiamantis street and the Old Port.

Restrictions in place from Monday 19 November 2018 until midday on Wednesday 21 November 2018

(From Skiathos Municipal Police).

Previous Blog: Back Home ...

Friday, 16 November 2018

Back Home ...

Quite a day yesterday ...


So whilst the wheels came off, the ministers departed, and we were all told its a great idea, and the only one available.

I took some autumn air in the Suffolk countryside, its good to be back home ...


Felling peckish, with all this fresh air. So I went for breakfast, it said 'scrambled eggs on toast with smoked salmon' and that's exactly what you get. Nothing fancy from the quiet winter kitchen ...

Delicious ...
Time to spare, so went for a stroll and refreshed my memories, and cleared my head ...

Someone else needed to, I watched someone make their third attempt at parking, in a huge space. Then reversed their car into a hedge, Perhaps tsipouro 'morning after mornings' have arrived here ...

I spoke to a fisherman with hardly any fish to sell. 'Them Belgies trawl almost up to the beaches, and we catch a decent fish we are not allowed to land it' he said. It was a meager offering, for someone trying to earn a living from the sea. Only six herrings and they were the local dish ...


Here for all the wrong reasons, but did get to catch up with family, and say a sad goodbye and Καλό Ταξίδι to another. Then off for a glass of wine and a bite to eat ...

Autumn colours ...
Infinity mirror?
I sent my brother a photo of the gathering, he said we all look old. I must find out where he purchased his 'get younger looking mirror' from (Probably IKEA) it must be a good one.

However the camera does not lie. Nor does the mobile phone, as they were passed around with photos of the last time we all met up ...

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Brexit ...

A puff of white smoke ...

Latest rumours are ...

  • Britons will not need visas to travel to the EU even if there is no Brexit deal, Brussels conceded today. Anyone staying for less than 90 days will be able to visit freely as long as the UK reciprocates.
  • The reassurance from the EU will be a major relief for holidaymakers - and businesses across the continent who thrive on British tourism. (TUI and TC)
  • The commission said: 'In the scenario where the UK leaves the EU without a deal, this would apply as of 30 March 2019. (or if there is a deal whenever that is)
  • Despite the good news on visas, the commission's new no-deal guidance said UK driving licences will no longer be recognised automatically by EU states. Motorists will need to check with individual countries, whether they will require an international driving permit /Green card (just like that unique reference number thing no one takes any notice of)
  • UK nationals will no longer be able to use the priority EU passport queue and will be subject to extra questions about the purpose and length of their visit, (Hopefully the UK reciprocates with the UK Nationals and Commonwealth only queue)
  • In response to the EU saying if we want to sell our fish to them after Brexit, The UK have to let them fish in our waters, a radio listener had the perfect riposte...
"If France wants to sell us wine, will they have to grant our farmers access to their vineyards"
  • The last PM who called in her Cabinet ministers one by one, was Mrs Thatcher. She resigned the very next day ...

Will we wake in the morning for another episode of "Bed and Brexit" ?
Prediction: Theresa's toast ...

Previous Blog: Armistice day ...

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Armistice day ...

100 years ago today ...

Not officially remembered in Greece, However on Skiathos the ex-pats will be gathering, and holding the usual two minutes silence at 11am this morning.

All especially welcome to mark this, the 100th anniversary of the end of WW1 by the Katsonis memorial. on the old port ...

The Tower of London ...
Click the link to hear a recording of that moment 100 years ago, when the guns fell silent at 11am, and the birds started to sing ...

My Grandfather came back from the trenches, his injury took another forty five years to kill him. His brother was lost as a boy sailor, on HMS Russell. Sunk off Malta 26th April 1916 ...


He spent his last Christmas anchored at the island of Imbros (Now called Gökçeada) in the Aegean whilst my Grandfather was in the trenches in Northern France.

A whole family line that would be different, had he survived like his brother ...

Today Poland will also celebrate its 100th anniversary of regaining independence in 1918. After 123 years of occupation and partitioning by Prussia, Austria and Russia.

Previous Blogs of the Athens adventures:

1. Athina ...
2. Athina with friends ...
3. Came all this way ...
4. After Acropolis ...

Friday, 9 November 2018

After Acropolis ...

Back to base, after a reviving coffee ...

Coffee for me, a take away cheese pie for SWMBO, and and EPSA and Ice cream, for junior. Whilst we watched the world and seemingly half of Athens pass by in their sunday best ...

Even a few ballerinas practicing their art, and being gracefully photographed in a number of poses on the cobbles. The kolouri seller doing a good trade ..

© http://skiathian.blogspot.com/
© http://skiathian.blogspot.com/ 
Reunited with SWMBO, Our 'meet you' call today came at noon, for around 13:30 to meet again at Thissio. We had to change Metro at Omonia station.


There was a break in service so Junior sat on the platform, and got out the pad and pencils. We are used to this. Athens folk are not, and soon we had a crowd admiring the artwork. I should have passed the hat around, as we had quite a following ...

Yvonne if you are reading, the artwork is still going well ...

We made it to Thissio in plenty of time, We were still there at 14:00 sitting in the sun once again, watching the stalls, and the sunday promenaders. Our friends arrived en masse, as they had to change cars, the previous unit, having been deprived of its number plates yesterday, for a minor parking infringement.

They could not pay the €20 fine and get the plates back until Monday. The plates are in the police station, but you pay the fine at the town hall. Pay online? Of course not, Yes this is Greece, show us the paper with a pretty stamp ...

The flea market was busy once again ...

© http://skiathian.blogspot.com/
This time we went up the hill and found a coffee place, with spare seats by the park. The childrens part was well and truly locked and bolted. Well it was Sunday, and why would anyone want to use it on a weekend at all?

No problem, the children just scaled the fence, and let themselves in, to use the swings etc ...

Rather busy up on Acropolis, a snake winding its way up the hill. Seems we made the right decision going up there earlier rather than later ...

© http://skiathian.blogspot.com/
Good time had by all, and we were surprised by some more friends, who had visited us in London. After a couple of pints of coffee we wandered back through the flea market, loaded up at the nut seller, as we were getting quite hungry.


Then after wandering the stalls, we went back up towards the Psiri (Psyri) district. After telling our friends about it, they were keen to explore it too ...

© http://skiathian.blogspot.com/

Plan A: Was to go to a museum, but the queue was too long.

Plan B: Was a much better option -  coffee and cake, at a themed restaurant, But again the queue was too long to contemplate ...

© http://skiathian.blogspot.com/
We wandered round the Psiri (Psyri) area, where there are a great many places to eat. Its quite a popular place, even if it is known as the antique and flea market district.

Plan C: Evolved from the queue at Plan B, the boys suggested a Tsipouro Meze. We struck gold at Taverna Penteli on Plateia Iroon, and it ticked all the boxes, including plate Gyros for the children.


© http://skiathian.blogspot.com/
© http://skiathian.blogspot.com/

Junior quite insistent and expert on Gyros, since we had one on the beach at Megali Amos. Quote: 'Not eating that its disgusting' ... 'Whats it made of' ... Then ate SWMBO's version - Alexandros at Bus stop 4, got the thumbs up ...

I left it to friends to order, and we had a great selection of plates, wine for the ladies and the 200ml tsipouro bottles for the boys ...


We also had the most delicious portion of Spanakopita. Certainly the finest tasting one we have had in Greece ...

© http://skiathian.blogspot.com/
A side order of proper chips, well its rude not too ...


The pork stifado was amazing, so good it was scoffed before the happy snapper could take a photo. Calamari, Mussels, Garlic bread, Tomato fritters. 

Followed as usual by the 'Greek' argument about who was paying the bill, but surprise surprise (I WON !!) not with dignity, but a fist pump, and a great victory. 

Even the feminine eye roll to the back of the head, could not defeat me - I had paid the bill as well as the earlier one for the coffees.

Greece 0 - England 2 ...

After dinner we went for another wander, it really is quite a pretty area to stroll around by night ...

© http://skiathian.blogspot.com/
There followed a slow stroll back to Monastraki, taking in the views ...

© http://skiathian.blogspot.com/
Then a waffle for Junior, from Gretel, before taking the metro back to base.

© http://skiathian.blogspot.com/
How could you resist ...

Previous Blog: Came all this way ...

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Came all this way ...

... and they still have not finished it!


Rubble everywhere, not even a nod or a wink to Health & Safety. Trip hazards galore, and they let anyone walk round the building site. Look at the state of the roof, if they don't get it covered the rot will set in during the winter ...

Last time I was here it was 2014, with SWMBO on the way to see a surgeon. We had stood on the hill next door, and admired the view. Not having time to visit the ruins, and other things on our mind.

Junior and I set out early to be there before opening time, and had arrived 10 mins before the ticket office opened. Security are on the ball - "You need to get a ticket, office opens 8am, go and wait" ...

We joined the other 100 or so waiting, and got chatting to a lovely French lady with a German accent. Travelling the world, and she had arrived that morning from the far east. Slightly flirty and made this old boy feel young again.

Its 8am and the door opens, the traveler, and us two tourists made it in, as the other 97+ stormed the entrance, and up to a grumpy sales attendant. who issued the ticket. Probably another failed paleontologist, overqualified, and in the wrong job, and wanting to be somewhere else on a Sunday morning.

Tip 1: Watch out for security on the turnstiles to the famous hill.

Heaven forbid they catch you with a croissant in your carrier bag. 'They are not allowed on Acropolis. Either eat it now, or pick it up later, or throw it away' ...

She had probably not eaten breakfast, (judging by the sugar dip) so we shared it, and ate it (Filled with apricot jam) slowly in front of her, as she confiscated and binned koulouris bread discs, left and right.

Tip 2: Walk right past with a rucksack filled with your picnic, if you are lucky.

I saw the Great Escape, so she never spotted the bottle of water in my shorts pocket, and we stormed the turnstiles and headed off up the ancient hill, Sadly not on a motorbike, but on foot ...

Get here at 8am, and you meet the soldiers from the military band coming down, and the evzones.

© The Skiathian 2010-2018. All rights reserved
The Greek Presidential Guard or Evzones are a group of elite Greek soldiers who are trained to perform various ceremonial duties. Also known as Tsoliades, they guard the Monument of the Unknown Soldier in front of the Hellenic Parliament at Syntagma square.

Quite a sight, to see them descending the steps and we assume they are up there for the raising of the Greek flag each morning.

© The Skiathian 2010-2018. All rights reserved
Have no doubt, Acropolis and the Parthenon, are stunning, and its worth every minute to be up there.
© The Skiathian 2010-2018. All rights reserved
© The Skiathian 2010-2018. All rights reserved
© The Skiathian 2010-2018. All rights reserved
The ruins are amazing, the views outstanding. Everyone is in awe of the place, for very good reason. It still makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck, just to have been there ...

© The Skiathian 2010-2018. All rights reserved
© The Skiathian 2010-2018. All rights reserved
Met some lovely people from Italy, Scandanavia, Korea, Japan, Slovenia and the USA as I took souvenir photos for them, and asked my favourite question 'Where are you from' as I always find 'us foreigners' so very interesting ...

Junior posed for photos, took photos, we had a ball up there, on the famous hill. We went all over looked at the view, listening to the church bells ringing out all over the city below. We had the whistle blown at us for breaking the rules. Must have been the port policeman from Skiathos - with a new pea. Admired the huge Greek flag fluttering in the breeze ...

The sun broke out through the clouds, a sunburst of light illuminating the ancient ruins.

© The Skiathian 2010-2018. All rights reserved
© The Skiathian 2010-2018. All rights reserved
Of course we also tripped a few times, and almost fell flat on our faces a few times, after all there are plenty of things to trip up on up on the hill. Your eyes are easily averted from where your feet are meant to be going ...

The cheapest souvenir is free, its a bruise from a short trip ...

Previous Blog: Athina with friends ...