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

The Children of the Night

The Children of the Night

‘Listen to them, the children of the night. What music they make.’ Dracula was talking about the wolves beyond his castle walls. My children of the night yesterday was actually only one, so a child of the night, or rather, early morning. Picture it:

I’m sitting there on the sofa with a cup of tea at 3.30 when I hear what sounds like a moth caught in a paper lampshade. Except the only light that was on was the one bulb in the sitting room ‘chandelier’, and there was no moth buffeting anything up there. The sound stopped, and I carried on reading the newspaper… and the sound started again. It then became a light buzzing noise, and a dark smudge weaved across the middle distance. It was a smudge because I have to take my glasses off to read, and without them, anything beyond a foot away might as well be a painting by Turner. Glasses on, and smudge becomes a cockroach flying about the room without so much as a by your leave. Well, we don’t want him moving in, and he’s quite big enough to carry his own luggage, so when he landed on the arm of the sofa, I approached, intending to give him a Subbuteo flick straight out through the open balcony doors, from whence he must have come as they’d been open all night. He must have sensed me coming because he took off on a journey to another part of the room, leaving me no choice but euthanasia. I do love the smell of Teza in the morning. Later, I shrouded him in kitchen paper and sent him to recycling.

Dawn happened not that long after and brought with it the pleasanter sounds of the children of the dawn. Not a horror film title as it might sound, but the blackbirds, sparrows and Tweety. That’s the name we’ve given to our personal swallow, who sits two feet away from the balcony on the telegraph cable. She pops back regularly to keep us up to date with neighbourhood news, someone of which is so far-fetched it’s hard to swallow. Get it?

Never mind. Here are some random photos, none of which feature roaches or, sadly, Tweety.

june 15_3 June 21_4 May 2nd_03

Boats and things

Boats and things

Standing at the window on Sunday afternoon, I saw a speedboat pulling people around on inflatable tires (or something, it was a distance away). The watersports place at Nos must be open, I thought, that’s good. Then I noticed the large umbrella was up at Petalo and saw a line of luxury yachts in the harbour. The Nikolaos X was in, the Spanos had come in and stayed, and the red ‘speedboat’ day boat was there too. There were also a few white sails out at sea. Things must be picking up.

June 21_5

Later, the village was deserted. Well, it was five in the afternoon, and there were a few locals at the bars. Damianos from Georgio’s was saying they were getting some customers of an evening, but it’s a bit etsi-ketsi, and only some of the businesses in Yialos are doing a reasonable trade, so things need to pick up a lot more. You’re supposed to wear masks in public still, and definitely when on the bus, in a taxi or in the shops, but very few visitors (and locals) seem to be aware or bothered. We’ve been covid free since it began, bar one or two very limited cases that luckily led to nothing serious, and it would be good to keep it that way.

June 21_1

Another luxury yacht came in on Monday morning and headed around to Nimborio just as I was heading up the hill for a quick walk. I was back by seven, by which time it was already up to 28 degrees. It’s due to get hotter soon, so if you are heading this way, be prepared.

June 21_3

Bits and Pieces

Bits and Pieces

Hello, and here’s wishing you a good week ahead, happy solstice and all that. Or, happy Witchling Day if you happen to live in the imaginary village of Saddling, down on Romney Marsh. Not sure what I’m talking about? Click here. (Note, that’s book two of a series, but it’s set around the summer solstice.)

Neil June 19_12

Other news… The photos today are from Neil, as you can tell by the quality and style. He’s currently arranging to have a one-day diving course with the new Symi diving school, Blue Lagoon Divers. A friend did this the other day and had an amazing experience. There are longer courses and various ways to arrange them as everything is tailor-made to suit you. If Neil gets on with the introductory morning course (during which you do all your safety training and your first dive, one-on-one with an instructor), then he may go on to do the longer one so he can dive deeper.

neil june_03

We’ve had some traffic police from Rhodes on the island of late; different uniforms and everything. Apparently, and this is café chatter, they came over following the complaints about the biker-boys* and the way they make up for lack of manhood by removing the baffles from their exhausts, so they have the noisiest moped on the island or some other childish thing. Many people who live along the main road have been disturbed by their curfew-breaking antics, and enough was clearly enough. Hopefully, they’ve been put in their quieter place. Things are certainly a lot quieter than they were.
(* Or biker girls. Definitely biker men who should know better, ’cos I’ve seen one doing a wheely up the main road. I’d say he was 40 going on 12.)

Neil June 19_01

Another thing I’ve noticed in groups on Facebook is more and more people asking for advice about how to stay longer than 90 days. These are Brits who want to come to Greece for a full summer or who want to move out here for a year and try it out. I can’t believe I am still seeing this kind of question, and I can’t believe how calmly and kindly most people are answering it. Did the yUK government not make it clear? After Brexit, if you want to have an extended stay in Greece (or another EU country), then, basically, you’re stuffed. You can’t. End of. You can’t extend your 90 days while you are here. Sorry. Well, you can arrange a certain visa before you leave if you’ve got a place to go and a job etc., but you can’t do it on a whim like you used to. There are other ways around it, like buy a property for a quarter of a million or have an income of more than 2K per month, a large amount of savings in a Greek bank, private health insurance and so on. But the good old days of being able to come for six months, or even four, or even 91 days (in a rolling 180) are over. Brexit, the gift that keeps giving.

Neil June 19_03

Oh, finally, talking of gifts. Another friend recently had a parcel from UK Amazon which only took eight weeks to get here and only cost an extra €45.00 in customs duty and so on, and that, by post-Brexit standards, is not bad. I ordered a book from Amazon Germany last Monday, and the tracking told me it was delivered on Thursday. Delivered being, left Athens, so probably on a Blue Star or a flight to Rhodes, but still, an excellent service. It was ordered via Germany, sent from Italy, arrived in Greece and was probably in my PO box last Friday. Nice. Must go now and pick it up.