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 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

Roll Out the βαρρέλλη

Roll Out the βαρρέλλη

I am writing this on Wednesday morning a day ahead as usual. This means I can’t yet comment on what’s happening in the yUK and the mess that is the Tory party, Brexit and the yUK generally as Ms May-Not-Be PM is currently announcing her leadership disaster thing. My journalist mate over there is sending me headlines by the minute, and it’s all very interesting, but as there’s nothing I can do about it (as I have been stripped of my democratic right to vote), I shall address the more mundane matter of our on-going water adventure. Sitting comfortably? Here’s your update of this thrilling tale – with some photos.

Wednesday started cloudy as the rain passed

Wednesday started cloudy as the rain passed

Tuesday. The workman arrived at 3.30 pm and told me a βαρρέλλη (barrel) was on its way – a tank, I assumed correctly. A little while later, while I was inside keeping out of the cold, I heard a few grunts and some plastic-scrapes, the clang of the gate, and popped out to see that a βαρρέλλη had indeed arrived. A great big heavy-duty plastic thing. The guy was pottering about with it on the courtyard floor, so I retreated inside; he knew where I was if needed. About an hour later, things had gone quiet outside, so I took another look. The βαρρέλλη was now magically up on the bathroom roof. I have no idea how he did it, I assume he prepared it, dragged it back outside and then lifted it on a ladder over the courtyard wall, avoiding the vine and the wires that support it, and the mesh, and the railing and squeezed it through a small gap in the rigging and into place. There was no-one around, and I assumed he’d gone home for a well-earned lie-down. It was dusk by now, so I closed the gate and knew he wouldn’t be back to plumb it in that evening.

December 11th 3

That meant I could do a quick tidy up and head on up the hill to the godsons’ house where we are babysitting for a few days. Well, teen sitting really which is, surprisingly, much easier. I went to have a quick wash before leaving only to find no water in the taps. Ah ha! I thought. The sterna has finally run dry. Nope. There was enough water in the sterna (it had been raining), and the pump was trying to pump it. Perhaps he’s connected something… A look on the roof and it was clear there were no pipes attached to the barrelli. I did notice it was resting on a couple of plastic water pipes that come from somewhere and go somewhere else, but these are hard plastic and were not crushed. Odd. I reset the pump as best I could, but still no water. I concluded that with everything else going on and the level low, grit or sediment had filtered in and bunged it up. A job for the next day. Off I went to spend a pleasant evening and night up the hill.

I knew my MSc would come in handy one day

I knew my MSc would come in handy one day

Next day, Wednesday. I was home by just after six, to find there was still no water and the pump hadn’t corrected itself. No reason why it should. I popped over the road to tell a rather beleaguered and crestfallen landlord that although we had some water in the sterna, the pump was now not working. He said he’d phone the man – which I am sure he will do, and I expect the guy again probably at 3.30 when he finishes his real job. Meanwhile, I had a brainwave and, as it was town hall supply day, wondered if there was any way I could divert the incoming mains to a variety of bottles we had been collecting. Luckily the in-pipe for the mains is one of those tough plastic ones but flexible enough to be pulled from the sterna entrance and directed, with some spillage, to the bottles one at a time. No need for the pump as this is pressured water from the main pipes. So, I have filled up what we have which should be enough for today and tomorrow, and I’ll do it all again on Friday if the new barrelli is not yet attached. The pump, whether it’s dead or simply injured, will have to wait. No point replacing it if we’re not going to need one until the summer.

Tuesday morning, carrying on up the Kali Strata

Tuesday morning, carrying on up the Kali Strata

I am sure there will be more news on this adventure tomorrow if you can tear yourself away from the car crash which is the yUK at the moment. Oh, and roadworks have begun again on our lane so all the above is accompanied by pneumatic drills. There is good news, however. The accountant rang to say Neil is to receive a merisma – a dividend – from the government (Greek, not British of course). It’s something to do with his name being on the lease for our property rental. I don’t know exactly, and I don’t know how much it might be, but he will investigate today. Might be enough for a new pump…