Before I vanish, I promised to post this news about the Symi Film festival:
The festival is still open for entries and so far, “the early bird entries are 170 films submitted from 42 countries.” The next deadline for entry is 15th June. The final deadline is 30 June.
That’s already a lot of films for the committee to choose from, so it looks like it’s going to be a packed festival later this year. The Festival will be screening here on Symi between 16th and 20th December. http://www.symifilmgroup.com/
A quick reminder: I will be away for a few days now, possibly two weeks, though I am around next week so there may be some posts then, but if not, don’t panic! Just vote in the EU elections and don’t waste your vote. You are lucky to have one.
You know I’m not a news channel, but here are a couple of bits of information that may be of use. I had a message from the British Consulate in Rhodes saying that their meeting with British residents of Symi will now be held on the island probably on the evening of Thursday 30th May. The venue is still to be finalised, but the opera House Hotel or the Rainbow Bar in Horio look to be the likely locations. I will be away from 24th to 31st May, so keep an eye on Facebook and other Symi news sites for more details nearer the time.
Secondly, I mentioned the new taxi drivers yesterday and included a phone number. I’ve been sent another one: +30 698 756 9469, John Nikolis. I’m not sure what hours these guys are available to take bookings, but assume that their phones are off when they are not working.
During the opperation
Thirdly, and more fun, the repair to the drains/road outside our house is nearly finished. The water seeping into the downstairs flat turned out to be from a pipe under the main road, hence the reason for digging it up. Our landlord reported this the other, evening and the following day, the workmen arrived to see to it as it was a council problem. We were able to lend them the use of our electricity for the compressor, a bucket, water and washing up liquid for filling it in. (I’m still trying to work out what the washing up liquid was for). The job took two days. However, the hole is only filled with sand right now, and the stones have not yet been replaced, so take care if you’re driving that way. I assume that the stones will go back once the sand/filling has settled, but it’s been a long time since I did building studies and I don’t think we covered road repairs anyway.
Tuesday night: We met up with a friend for dinner in Yialos and decided to try the new Mythos restaurant. This is now on the north side of the harbour, beside Manos’ fish taverna, Stavros is the chef, and there is a good choice on the menu. The boards outside list traditional Greek food, but the classic Mythos menu is also available. Stavros came to greet us, as he does with his guests and told us what he had prepared that day from the Mythos menu. Customers are also able to choose from a printed menu. With the weather suddenly warming up, it was possible to sit at the front tables overlooking the harbour without being cold. The restaurant has kept the design and fittings from before and looks stunning.
The staff are also efficient and friendly, the prices are very reasonable considering the standard of cooking, they make their own bread; you can see it being made. It’s also possible to look into the kitchen, so it’s all very open and ambient. As for the food… Well, there’s a reason we like to go to Mythos. I’m not saying we pigged out, but we did a bit. Garlic pitta, a tuna salad and chilli feta from the oven got us off to a good start, and it came with homemade bread. Neil and I went for our favourite, the chicken breast in blue cheese sauce, and our friend had a pork dish, all were rather wonderful as you would expect. After, full and delighted, we were presented with three desserts and a shot of tsipouro (think raki) on the house, and later, a very reasonable bill.
Being full and lazy, we asked our waiter to phone us a taxi which arrived a few minutes later. Now then, visitors often grumble about not being able to find a taxi in the late evening hours or the early mornings, if you like. Well, we have some new, young taxi drivers. I mentioned one of the guys here the other day. Yiannis picked us up from the restaurant and took us to the village. On the way, he told us that he and his brother (possibly cousin, either way, the same surname) were planning to run a late night service. Kind of: let the older guys drive during the day and the younger guys will take over for the late evenings and early mornings. He said he would still be running at two or three o’clock, but that, in my opinion, might depend on the time of year. The point being, these young entrepreneurs have listened to what people want and are now offering to be around when most needed – most needed by stay-out-laters who don’t want to risk the steps after dark or after one too many free tsipouro. He gave us his card so you can make a note of his number: +30 697 462 3492 – Yiannis and George Petridis. I’ve not yet got the details of the other drivers.
I had one of those nights last night. Bed at just after nine and off to sleep. Woke at 22.50 thinking it was time to get up. It wasn’t. Same happened at 00.10. Rinse and repeat at 01.34, 01.50 and then at 02.12 and finally gave up on the idea at 02.30, wide awake and looking forward to getting some work done. Peaceful and quiet down below in Yialos, apart from one idiot who thinks it’s macho to remove his/her baffles and roar his 50 cc motorbike in the early hours. Didn’t disturb me as I was awake but glad I wasn’t trying to sleep nearby. Next thing I know it’s dawn and time for lunch. I think a siesta will be in order later as we are dining out tonight. I may be asleep in my kolokithokeftethes otherwise.
An advantage of early rising; the night view (a few mornings ago)
While in Yialos tonight, I need to organise some boat tickets. I am off to Rhodes for Saturday and Sunday so there may be no blog next Monday, and then the following Friday, I am off to Tilos for a week, so may take a break then too – from the blog I mean. I am there to write so will probably be working longer hours as there will be fewer disturbances. So, if I ‘go dark’ you will know why. Or, if I am off-and-on for the rest of this month, you will know why.
Later in the morning, still an impressive sight (different day)
If you have been following our water issues, you’ll be delighted to know that there was another plumbing emergency on Monday afternoon. This one wasn’t draining the water from our limited tank, so we weren’t directly affected, but water was trickling through a wall downstairs in the unoccupied flat. The strange thing is, on the other side is the ground beneath the road. The soil pipes from our place travel along the kitchen ceiling down there, and there are other large pipes that seem to come and go from nowhere (it’s rather Steampunk), and we, that’s me, the landlord and his plumber, were baffled for a while. I think it might be a large pipe from the landlord’s house opposite that travels beneath the road to meet up with this house’s drainage, but it didn’t smell nasty, and nothing upstairs was being flushed, drained or run, so it’s still a mystery. Another plumber came at seven in the evening, and after a while, everything went quiet down there, so I assume it was, in the end, an easy fix. And now, twelve hours later, I think I might go back to bed.
I assume the cat was lapping up the salt after the logs for the bakery were washed in the sea? Oh no, that’s sponges. He was licking something… I have no idea.
Today, a few photos showing recent action in the village square. Well, when I say action, I mean… You know, daily life. The bars starting to busy up as summer gets underway, Symi and our mayor on the TV on Sunday night, someone taking their young garlic for a walk in the pushchair… You know how it is.
Let’s have a plug. If this is all new to you and you want to know more about Symi and what it’s like to live here, may I suggest starting with ‘Symi 85600’, my account of moving here and our first five years on the island. More details of that time can be found in ‘Symi, Stuff & Nonsense’ and the other two books about living on the island fit in between. Start with ‘Symi 85600’ move on to ‘Carry on up the Kali Strata’, then to ‘Village View’ (which takes you through a complete year, 2013), and then come up to date with ‘Symi, Stuff & Nonsense.’ I expect most of my regular readers have already seen these books, but if you haven’t, you’ll find quirky tales, thoughts, observations and perhaps even something worth knowing.
The link at the end of this chat takes you to my author page at Amazon where you can find all the novels and books. I was asked on Sunday if any of the novels are Symi-set. ‘Jason and the Sargonauts’ is set on Symi in World War II and ‘present day’ (which was a few years ago now), and as far as possible, the wartime flashbacks are historically accurate with some licence, so don’t use it as a basis for your thesis. ‘The Judas Inheritance’ is also set on Symi although it’s not named and the story (a horror) has nothing to do with the island, that’s just a metaphor for Greece in the days of the economic disaster of a few years back.
Easy, because it’s Sunday morning and I have a day to do what I want. That’s once I’ve done this, so I don’t have to do it on Monday, leaving me time to do Tuesday’s, and so it rolls on until Saturday when I don’t have to prepare a blog for Sunday. And today’s doing what I want, I hope, will include finishing off the first draft of a book and painting a plastic horror model kit, as you do. The book, a pen name one, is 90k words and I’ve ‘done’ the first three drafts and some editing. Now, I have a long list of things to check and alter, and that means search and find, find and replace and read again. I want to send that off to the printer next week. The printer, btw, being Peter who gives me an A4 printout of each MS so I can read it (again) on paper and mark up the MS for final edits before sending the digital file to the proofreader, and so that process goes around like the writing of this blog only longer.
From the taxi on Saturdayl
The model kit was a birthday present from Neil. I used to make the glow-in-the-dark versions of these when they were available in the 70s. They are classic characters from Universal horror films, and at one point I had them all, and most of the Aurora prehistoric animals collection too, which didn’t glow in the dark. I have Dracula waiting to be made (it’s a remake from the original mould/design but not a glower), but I also have four or five others in my cabinet unmade. Two of them are the original deal and still in their boxes, so they will never be made, the others are remakes so not as valuable but still collectable. I was waiting for the paints to arrive from Germany, which they now have, as there’s no local craft shop that I know of that sells them. I am sure it’s going to look terrible when I have finished and, having just remembered that I don’t have any thinners and it’s a Sunday, I may not be able to start until Monday anyway.
Good to go
Meanwhile… Back on Symi. Saturday, I had an appointment in Yialos for some paperwork which gave me a rare opportunity to be down there as the sun was going down and see the hillside and houses changing colour to that golden yellow as the fading sun hits them. While I was there, a Blue Star ferry came in, and I immediately thought it was Friday, which confused me for a while. Then, a few hours later on Sunday morning, another one arrived. I’ve not looked at that timetable for a while, but clearly, we have more Blue Star ferries than we know what to do with – not knocking it, it’s a great service and the more boats, the better. I also watched the Sebeco heading off to Rhodes, another handy service, delivered by ANES this time. Anyway, that was a brief explanation of my Sunday and today’s photos. Now, I am going to do my editing and then paint Dracula’s face (which isn’t a euphemism), as long as I can clean my brushes with washing up liquid, or find some old turps under the laundry sink. I know I had some somewhere once upon a time.
There was a big parade on Wednesday, May 8th, including the schools, Women’s Institute, army, navy, a band, local politicians, the church, scouts, Red Cross and others. A few hundred people lining the road, the laying of wreaths at the war memorial, a celebratory atmosphere and the sun was shining. Godson #1 was leading the parade, carrying the flag and, of course, I missed him when he passed. I was expecting him further down the line with his class, but he was also hidden by the flag. Ah well, we saw him afterwards looking very smart, and the parade was a joy to watch. I remember the first time I saw the May 8th parade. I’d just started working for Takis Leather in 2003 and was outside the shop when everyone marched past. I remember feeling proud for a reason I couldn’t explain, it was a moving sight to see, it always is, and Wednesday brought the same emotion.
I have a few photos, and they will be on the blog today and for the next couple of days. Pictures painting a thousand words and all that.
Wednesday 8th May, and there is a parade and celebration in Yialos today (yesterday). We’re going down to watch because godson #1 is carrying the flag. That’s an honour which, I believe, used to be awarded to the top pupil in the class or year. Now the pupil is chosen at random, I’m told (but still believe the original idea because Godson #1 is very academic). I’ll see if I can get any decent photos.
Random harbour shot
Also, randomly thinking… I notice that the yUK is going to be taking part in the upcoming EU elections and that the Brexit party is set to do well. At least, that’s what the fake news Mail and other ‘newspapers’ on the right of Atilla are spreading around. It may be true because there are a few sensible, non-Brexit parties but not one cohesive party, so their votes will be spread, and of course, no-one with any self-respect would vote for the two main parties slowly disintegrating around the country’s ears. But my wandering thought was, how stupid it is for anti-Brexit people to vote MEPs into an organisation they don’t believe in or want, and which the country will probably be out of soon anyway. It’s like buying a ferry ticket for a destination you don’t want to go to and on a boat that probably won’t make it there. I know, it’s a protest, but it’s all making for great entertainment over here where the rest of Europe is hiding its laughter behind a look of ‘get on with it.’ Moving on…
Random placement of firelighters in the coffee department
Another random thought, slightly related, is my driving licence. If you were following this one a few months ago, you will know that I took my old paper yUK licence into the KEP office to have it changed to a Greek one. I can’t remember exactly when that was, but I think it was early March, about two months ago. A friend called into KEP the other day and while there, asked about progress. Apparently, the process is taking much longer than expected because there are so many people changing their licences, so I should expect to wait another month at least. I don’t intend to use the thing, but you never know, and it is another form of ID.
A non-random arrival dead on time at 4.55.
Yesterday, I was up in time to see the Blue Star come at go at 5.00, taking with it the class of godson #2 (who is really the other godson #1 as they are equally important). The 15/16-year-olds are off to Santorini on a school trip for a few days, and I am assuming the scene inside local houses at 3.30 yesterday morning was something of a trauma for all concerned. Raising a teenager from slumber in time for school at eight is bad enough. Then again, there is a trip involved, and they’ve all worked very hard raising the money, so I doubt anyone got much sleep and, as I write, the teachers are enjoying some peace as their group dozes on the boat, hangs around Rhodes for five hours and then gets on a plane. Actually, I doubt they will get much peace at all, but I can say from experience, Greek school children are among the politest I’ve encountered when travelling. We were in Belgrade one winter and bumped into a large party of Greek teens visiting St Savas’ Cathedral – perfectly behaved. We also met another large group on Kos once, and they couldn’t have been more polite and helpful. Around here, if you walk towards a group of teens ‘hanging out’ after school, you know you’re likely to be greeted with several pleasantries, whereas approach a group of teens in the yUK… Well, you may well want to cross the street. Sorry to generalise, but experience provides the only comparison I can make. I am babbling now so I’ll go and have breakfast.