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 in the London Greek Film Festival

Symi in the London Greek Film Festival

It all happens at once. First, a new washing machine arrives (great excitement, Yiannis Rainbow, Jenine, Habib and Jan all involved in getting here) and the new novel, The Saddling, is about to come out. We can add to that the news that I have a screenplay shortlisted for the London Greek Film Festival in May, plus the film I co-wrote, ‘The 13th‘ has also been selected for a premiere at the same festival. The next couple of weeks could be very busy. Let’s just draw a breath and look at that in more detail…

The washing machine arrival is perhaps a story for another day. It was all rather sudden and frantic, but it made it to the house thanks to Habib carrying it up from the Olive Tree on his back. No, honestly. More about that another time.

Symi in the London Greek Film Festival

Symi in the London Greek Film Festival

The London Greek Film Festival takes place between 14th and 20th May, and I have two things selected for it. First, the short comedy film I wrote as part of my screenplay writing course last year, titled ‘Red Handed’ has been selected as part of the short film script competition. I was only saying yesterday that I doubt it will be selected, but there it is. Mind you, it’s in with about 14 other short scripts which I am sure are much more serious and less ‘frothy’, more producible and actually written by Greek people, but still… The completion is/was open to all scripts written by Greeks, or about Greece and Greek stories no matter the nationality of the writers or filmmakers. It’s a great opportunity for Greece to be seen and promoted through the medium of film and screenplay, documentaries and other moving-image formats.

Kurtis Stacey and Rebecca Grant in 'The 13th' filmed on Symi in 2013.

Kurtis Stacey and Rebecca Grant in ‘The 13th’ filmed on Symi in 2013. (Stills photos by Neil Gosling)

The film, as regular readers will know, is called ‘The 13th‘ and my novel, ‘The Judas Inheritance’ is based on my first draft story for this film. The film is different to the book, as films are, but the main set-up and charters are the same. It went through many developments in the scriptwriting phase and then ‘on the ground’ as it was being filmed. I’ve seen it, and it looks stunning, the music, by Michael Bishop, is wonderful, there are a few extras in it who are from Symi (the children who appear in it), and many local Symi folk and residents were involved in its creation here on Symi, where it was all shot.

Symi in the London Greek Film Festival

Symi in the London Greek Film Festival

There is no definite date yet for the screening, that will come in time, and I am sure the Kickstarter backers will soon receive an update. At least I hope they will as not everyone reads this blog or checks that Facebook thing for news. I know that 1066, the production company behind it all, were waiting for some definite news before letting out another update, but now there is news, there should be something formal when more details are known. All we know at the moment is that the film (and my script) are entered. There is a full list of entries here at The London Greek Film Festival website, and I will let you know more news when I have it.

Now it’s back to plumbing in the new washing machine…

But, you can view the official trailer for ‘the 13th’ right here:

A cover up?

A cover up?

This is a bit worrying. After I had changed the cover of ‘The Judas Inheritance’ and waited a few days, I went Amazon.co.uk and bout a copy, so that I could see how the cover looked. It arrived today but with the old cover, not the new. I’ve contacted them and said I will return it – which I won’t bother doing as I can give this one to someone. I just wondered if anyone else had bought a copy with the new cover and had it successfully delivered? I’ve not seen it printed yet, though it should look absolutely fine. Maybe, if you have ordered a copy in the last two weeks, you could let me know how the new cover looks.

Symi sunrise

The village in early morning light

Apart from that, Tuesday started well with a walk up through the village, past the museum and up to the road. This is the hard way of doing it, covering about three hundred steps up. That really gets the heart pumping at ten past six in the morning. After that, the slope of the road up and down is easy. I didn’t take the camera as the photos would have been the same as yesterday, which is what you have here.

Symi sunrise

Morning sun on a village walk

After that, I came home to discover that another my travel articles had been accepted for a travel site and will be out soon. I’ll send the link when it’s there as the more views it gets, the better for me. That should be out in a few days time. The rest of the morning was spent tidying up a few things and doing some hand washing while we wait for the new machine to be delivered. I’ve got a few things to check online this morning, so I can’t stay long. I want to see if I can find out where the washing machine is, and then see if the yUK passport office received my application, then see if Jumbo has any outdoor furniture as they are now set up nine and deliver free if the order is over €100.00, apparently. So, going in with someone on an order can save you both money. I’ve also got to book a train ticket for when Neil is in England and check up on a couple of other things. All so easy to do these days online, what did we use to do? Phones and letters, I guess. Anyway, must go and do that, so have a good day.

Symi sunrise

Sunrise on a stone wall

Symi sunrise

Symi sunrise

Symi sunrises are back

Symi sunrises are back

I finally managed it. I changed the alarm from 5.30 to 6.00, as it’s slightly lighter then, and headed straight out for a walk up the road to Ag Triada and back down through the village. A short walk of about 40 minutes. I forgot my FitBit, so I am not sure how many steps that was or how long a distance, but not very far. From the Village Square to the cantina on the road above the village and back it’s three miles, so I expect what I walked was nearly two. As the days go on and the mornings get warmer I shall aim for more.

Symi sunrise

No trickery, this is how it came out

Talking of warmer… We were at the bar on Sunday for our Sunday afternoon tipple. I for one was wearing three layers, including a thermal vest. As other people arrived, we ended up with pashminas and scarves, jackets and mountaineering gear in the party. There was a cold breeze blowing even though it was a sunny day. The wind has dropped now, and it should feel a bit warmer. One thing’s for sure, it won’t be long now before people are greeting each other with the standard, ‘Hot, isn’t it?’

Symi sunrise

Symi sunrise

There was quite a gathering at the bars on Sunday. A funeral (or memorial) service had been held, and the men arrived for a drink afterwards; there was also a baptism elsewhere, proving how much ‘life goes on’, and others were gathering for the Sunday cinema club at Lefteris’ kafenion. From the looks of it, the event was well attended.

Symi sunrise

A bit of a traffic jam on the way home

Things are starting to busy up elsewhere too. The Nikolaos X came in on its first day trip of the season over the weekend, the Panagia Skiadeni is also making trips, the Blue Star came in on Sunday bringing back those who had traveled to Syros on a short break, and, as I write this, the catamaran has just come and gone. I can hear it from my desk as it rounds the headland, even though I can’t see it at that point, and I can more or less set my watch by it. Well, I would if I wore one.

Jack cat had the right idea

Jack cat had the right idea

In my ‘news from the writing desk’ department, we have one more chapter of The Saddling to set out, and then the final check through to do before I can put that up for sale. So, hopefully only a few more weeks. It should only be two weeks, but we are both waiting to hear about the London Greek Film Festival. We being myself and my editor who also works for a film production company. If the film (and I mean the film) is selected, then he will have some arranging to do over there in the yUK, and that might delay the book’s editing slightly. I also have a script entered and am waiting to hear if that got anywhere (unlikely, the length was not within their guidelines, and I knew this but sent it off anyway). The festival is only three weeks away, and we are expecting to hear any day now. We were expecting to hear a while ago, but it is the Greek film festival, and we have had Easter. Maybe we’ll hear avrio. Anyway, back to that writing desk department and some work no a new comedy novel…