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

Plaza Hotel offer and other news

Plaza Hotel offer and other news

There are notices up around Yialos at the moment advertising an offer from the Plaza Hotel, Rhodes. From now until the end of March, double rooms are only €40.00 per night, including breakfast, and if you stay for the weekend, Friday to Monday morning, there’s a deal per person for room, breakfast and a meal for only €90.00 for the three nights. I thought you might like to know in case there’s anyone travelling this way over the next three months. I think we’ll use it when we go to get our annual health MOTs done in March – looks good but check with the hotel in case I have misremembered those details. Here’s the website for The Plaza Hotel, Rhodes. I’d advise ringing them and saying you’re going to/from Symi and ask about the offer.

December 15th 5

What have we been up to over here since we last spoke? Well, Neil went off to Rhodes on Friday to do some shopping and have his phone put onto a contract. When I took up my contract a couple of months ago, I popped into the shop, chose the €13.50 per month bundle, called back an hour later, and it was all set up and running. I have 3.5 Gbs of data, 500 SMS and 1,000 minutes of talk time (within Greece) per month. That’s more time than I spend talking to anyone in person let alone on the phone, but I can connect to the internet anywhere. Neil’s phone still isn’t doing what it should be doing, and he needs to call the helpline to sort it out. Panormitis at the phone shop on Symi has had a look, and one sim card is working fine as it always did, but he’s locked out of the new one and… well, I don’t understand it, but it’s nearly sorted.

View from the dining table, Saturday

View from the dining table, Saturday

I met Neil and Ms DJ at Rainbow on their way back from their expedition, ladened down with Jumbo bags and news of their day. We went through the shopping on Saturday, so there are now loads of small, useful, plasticy things around the house and some things we did need. After popping to the phone shop for advice, and collecting a parcel from the bookshop, ordering a new carpet from Crystalo at the back of the town square, helping ourselves to a beer at Pacho’s (Yiannis was out and about somewhere and it’s a common practice) and chatting to Hugo, we went for a giros. You could call it the annual Symi Dream, Christmas lunch; two chicken pittas and a bowl of perfect chips.

Later

Later

Thanasis was around to taxi us up to Horio with the bags and boxes, and then it was an afternoon at home before popping out to do more shopping at the ‘American’ supermarket. We don’t often go that way as Sotiris is nearer and we’re lazy, so it’s a treat to take a good look around the recently re-vamped shop, or partly revamped. It has expanded over the years, been rearranged and now has three main sections. When you pass by you might think it’s only the downstairs that’s available, what you can see from the street, but go through and up, and it’s an Aladdin’s cave of a store. I found some Brasso – not for a Christmas Day tipple but for polishing the brass on my desk and trunk as I am also revamping in the New Year (my office, but more about that another day), and then home again to plan Sunday.

December 15th 2

Which is where I am now, with the sun coming up behind rain clouds. If you have been following the water business at our house, you might have picked up that we need a pump in our new tank, so we get more than a spit of hot water in the showers and sinks. I phoned Symi Property Services (you can find them on Facebook), and we’ve arranged to have our old pump removed from the sterna, checked (as it suddenly stopped working at the same time as we switched tanks) and, hopefully, have it put into the new tank, on Tuesday. All being well, we will be back to normal after that. Today, Sunday, I am sorting out the new Jumbo store (our house) and preparing it for Christmas, and then we’re up with the godboys and sporting out theirs, so I better go and get tinsled-up. More tomorrow.

Packed up for the winter

Packed up for the winter

Symi Saturday Photos – a mix

Symi Saturday Photos – a mix

Here we go again with a mix of images from my file to give you something to look at over the weekend. We have a few plans afoot for the next couple of days. Friday – as I write this, Neil is in Rhodes with Miss DJ doing some Christmas shopping at Jumbo, and elsewhere, I have got the boys off to school with no fuss. It’s like looking after two young gentlemen – or rather, they are looking after us. We’ve ordered the Christmas turkey from Christos at the village butchers. I love the way things work around here…

Thursday morning before the rain

Thursday morning before the rain

Walk in and the place is empty, but someone is downstairs, so you call out ‘Yassou!’ Cristos appears through the floor from below, ‘Ella Dobby!’ A quick chat about how we both are, and I explain that I’d like to order a turkey. No problem, it will be delivered next week. That done it was on to how we are doing looking after the boys while mum is away. Some people might not like everyone knowing their business, but I think it’s wonderful. It means you have people looking out for you. Even those you’ve not seen for weeks know what you’re up to. We ended the conversation with when I should come an collect the turkey and arranged that Christos would send me a Facebook message when it arrived. Modern-day village life.

Yialos in winter

Yialos in winter

Rather antiquated village life currently comes in the form of our water supply which, although fixed temporarily – for which we are very grateful – gives us a water flow that is more of a suggestion than a statement. The shower, for example, gives us a trickle reminiscent of the last drops from a watering can as the tank is only a couple of feet overhead and there’s not a lot of gravity in play. I will ask a man who knows and see if there’s a way of fitting a booster pump somewhere along the pipes to help. Meanwhile, have a good weekend and here are a few more photos from Symi.

December 13th 1 December 11th 5

Pre-dawn. The Christmas lights are up.

Pre-dawn. The Christmas lights are up.

Stage set for the Symi Amateur Dramatics (SAD, for short) production of Les Miserables.

Stage set for the Symi Amateur Dramatics (SAD, for short) production of Les Miserables.

November 25th 12

Neil at work on a day off - having the keys to the bar comes in handy.

Neil at work on a day off – having the keys to the bar comes in handy.

Various Symi photos 02

Writing the blog in winter

Writing the blog in winter

All Over Bar the Flooding

All Over Bar the Flooding

Coming to you live on Thursday morning, here’s how last night panned out. I waited in at the house, and the workman called just after four armed with a bag of tools and a string of complicated technical questions in Greek which received the occasional nod from me. Having finally learned the world for water pump after 16 years, I was able to explain that it wasn’t working, but that didn’t matter, he said. We wouldn’t need it until the sterna was fixed next year. He found the water feed pipe he needed, and I left him to get on with whatever he had to do.

On the way home at 5.30 yesterday. Didn't realise how tall I was.

On the way home at 5.30 yesterday. Didn’t realise how tall I was.

An hour and a half later, after some clanking and shuffling about on the roof, he called me, and we tested the water by turning on the tap in the laundry sink. No water. A bit of head scratching, testing of other taps and back he went to figure things out. A little later, he was back, and we tried the kitchen, giving the open tap some time to run while the water filtered through the pipes… and worked. We tried the hot, and that worked too. Mild merriment. Only mild because there’s not a lot of pressure, and he explained (and better, I understood) that without a pump the pressure was down to gravity. I’d expected this.

A bright but cold morning on Thursday at 8 degrees.

A bright but cold morning on Thursday at 8 degrees.

I wondered how he’d filled the new tank, and he explained that he had, with permission, syphoned some water from the landlord’s sterna which is attached to our mains in-pipe, so both are filled from the same meter (we split the bill when it comes in). He also demonstrated that when our tank is full it overflows and the excess pours off into the courtyard, so that’s going to be easy to detect on water days. All done, he tidied up and vanished into the night leaving me to pack up and head to the boys’ house for the night to meet them and Neil for dinner. Progress was halted when I realised that the overflow was still overflowing. Some basic investigation showed me that the plumber hadn’t trend off the landlord’s feed, so the tank was still filling. I turned that off, not wanting to call him back as it was now dark. I was just leaving when I heard water still running and realised we’d not turned off that tap in the laundry. Not an issue, I thought as I headed to do just that, only to find the plug was in and the sink full. Not a problem, normally, except I learnt that the overflow overflows into the cupboard beneath and the laundry was fast flooding…

The new lodger.

The new lodger.

I dealt with that under the disinterested gaze of Thomas, the unwanted ginger tom who lives in the laundry basket, threw some towels down to deal with the mop-up the next day and headed up for dinner. So, finally, we have water back in the house though not flowing as powerfully as before. I am about to try out the shower for the first time, and I will leave you to digest this privateering tale and show you an image from the courtyard steps to give you an indication of how the guys are doing with the new paving for the lane to Lemonitisa.

Decmerb 13a 2