Symi Dream

Living on a Greek island

A Greek island blog from Symi in the Dodecanese islands of Greece. "James’s great talent lies in his careful observation of the absurd and the amusing, the dramas and the difficulties..." Anne Zouroudi.

Symi Dream - Living on a Greek island

Symi, Stuff & Nonsense

Symi, Stuff & Nonsense

I just wanted to update you… You might remember that my latest travel book, Symi Stuff & Nonsense, came out around the time of last November’s storm. Since then, I have been collecting a percentage of the sales to put towards the island’s high school. We’re not talking much, but we are talking helpful. We’ve passed on a couple of things to the school, maps for the geography classes so far to replace ones ruined in the flood, and I’m going to keep doing it because every little helps. So, if you do buy a paperback copy of SS&N or a Kindle, or even read it on Kindle Unlimited, you are also contributing to things that the school needs. Or at least to some extras that they might not have or otherwise be able to get hold of. The link to the book is over there in the righthand column. >>

Symi Greece Symi Dream photos

New oranges on a nearby tree

On a different subject — and I don’t know why it’s come into my head — I just remembered something from years ago when I worked for a while at the Windmill. That’s the restaurant on Symi, you understand, not the revue theatre in Soho. (I did briefly work at Madame Jo-Jo’s, but that’s another story.) I was probably the world’s worst waiter and still could be, but one night, as we were saying farewell to a couple of guests, chatting at the door as you do, the man surreptitiously handed me a €50.00 note. You know, in the manner of someone passing on 10p to a waiter, with a sympathetic, secret smile as if to say, ‘Don’t tell the wife, but here you go,’ as if 10p was going to pay the waiter through college or something. Well…

Symi Greece Symi Dream photos

The new jetty will be officially opened soon, I hear

The chap handed me the money in a way that I knew it was a tip and there was no darker intent behind it. He carried on chatting to Rhiannon without leaving me a space in which to interject. Not until he had done that, ‘What’s it like in the winter?’ questioning and was about to leave. Then I was able to leap in with, ‘I think you gave me this by mistake,’ as I handed back the €50.00.
He squinted at it (your first clue to the mistake) and then snatched it back in horror.
‘Oh!’ he exclaimed. ‘You’re quite right… I meant… Here…’ He passed me €2.00, adding, ‘You, Sir, are a gentleman.’
To which I replied, ‘And for a minute there I thought you were too.’

It just slipped out, but he saw the funny side of it, and there is a funny side to it, though you may have had to have been there to see it.

Symi Greece Symi Dream photos

New bins in the harbour

Anyway, no idea where that anecdote came from, but I know where I am going to. Off to do some writing. Have a good day.

Symi Greece Symi Dream photos

A new photo of a cat

Symi Is Waiting For You

Symi Is Waiting For You

As you can see from the chairs, there’s plenty of space for you at the moment, but don’t delay, these will soon be full. They were actually, a couple of hours later. I took these photos during the siesta shift at the bar, that time of day when everyone has gone home for lunch or a sleep. That time of day is busier later in the season, a season which hasn’t really started yet, it just feels like it has because Easter was a while ago now.

Symi Greece Symi Dream photos

Having said that, there are visitors here enjoying the warm but not too hot weather, there are some yachts in and walking groups. Not long now until the chairs will be occupied by people relaxing after a hard day on the beach, or a long, peaceful trek through the hills and the forest. Of course, on some nights things might get a bit wild, and you may have to sit on the steps, which you can do at both kafeneion in the village square if there are no vacant seats.

Symi Greece Symi Dream photos

We were invited to dinner on Monday evening (thank you R and L – the time went so quickly, but we did make the bus), and I was able to take a couple of snaps of the Blue Star coming in. I’m planning to be on it on Friday for a day in Rhodes. Not as exciting as it sounds, but I am still looking forward to it. I always like travelling on the Patmos, well, I always like traveling. I’ll be back in the evening having seen to my appointments and maybe had the wedding rings engraved at last, and after a wander about the Old Town, the New Town, the beach and my usual route when killing time after the duties have been seen to. I shall wear my Fitbit which, for a reason known only to itself, started working again last week after taking 11 months off. Can’t explain it, but there you go.

Symi Greece Symi Dream photos

And here I go, off into another glorious day on Symi with the sun shining and the sea calm, the air is clear and… Well, you know the routine.

Symi Greece Symi Dream photos

Morning Sights of Symi

Morning Sights of Symi

Yesterday we had sounds, today we’re having sights – or not, as it happens. These are only what I see, of course, but here’s a rough guide to what I tend to see first thing in the morning.

Morning Sights of Symi

A quick morning check of the plants

I won’t take you through the details of absolutely first thing, but let’s assume I’m up, dressed and abluted and so on. Yesterday, for example, I dragged myself from bed knowing that I’d promised myself a bit of exercise so, having dressed in the kitchen so as not to disturb Snoring Beauty, I headed out just before the dawn. There’s a strange thing at our house; every time I leave the front gate, someone is passing on a motorbike, or on foot. Yesterday, though, was an exception and not even our landlord opposite was up and about.

Morning Sights of Symi

The square was empty, as you might expect at 6.00 am, but as mentioned previously, Lefteris was at work preparing his kafeneion. The light was on, and he was inside. There was no-one else around, it’s not yet summer when I often pass people heading home from a night out, but there was no-one on the road either. No cars or soldiers passed me as I walked up the hill. The sky was pinking over Pedi way as I passed the sports centre, which also had some lights burning, and the only other person I saw was Tassos the donkey man’s mother and that wasn’t until I was in Leoni and beyond Lavinia, on the stretch towards Periotisa and Ag Triatha. I wondered if she was walking up to her son’s farm/area/compound on the main road towards Roukouniotis, but I didn’t ask. She was walking slower than me, and I didn’t want to break my tempo. We had a brief, passing chat about what I was up to, and she did volunteer that she was out for a walk as well.

Morning Sights of Symi

Reaching the top of the village, the sun was just starting to peek above the Turkish mountains, throwing soft light onto the upper village and the Castro. I heard goats but didn’t see any (the sound of cockerels in the Pedi valley was manic), and again, passed no-one else. It was like everyone was still in bed, which is unusual. As there’s usually someone on the road at that time of day. Still, down again, past the museum and across to come out at Ag Athanasios, and then across the village to our side of the hill and… Still no-one around.

Morning Sights of Symi

You must think the walk is very boring at that time old day, but you still get to see the wildlife waking up. Sparrows chatting about their dreams, a cat or two having a morning wash of all those intimate places, looking like they are playing the double bass, and I was surprised by two chickens and a cockerel halfway up the road. Other than that, Monday morning was very quiet. Later, sitting at the desk, I saw the ‘Spanos’ coming it as it does promptly at 9.20, and later the patrol tanker boat dropped anchor and rumbled into port. The sun, fully up, lit the harbour and the calm sea, and a few swallows came past to see what the sea air was driving up the hill, mosquitoes and bugs mainly.

Hm, not actually a lot going on, but then that’s what you want at six in the morning, isn’t it? I’m sure there will be other mornings when something happens, and this page becomes a little more interesting.