Symi Dream

Living on a Greek island

Symi Dream - Living on a Greek island

Football Heads to Ancient Rome, or China, Or Athens, Or…

It’s been an interesting week. My postal vote papers arrived six days after the election, our godson came to lunch, and I received a message from my football-mad bother-in-law to effect that, ‘Football’s coming home.’

Apparently, this means the game is returning to its roots in China. Or Greece, or Rome, or, as the Bundesliga website tells me, Mexico, because the game was invented by the Aztecs. Possibly the Persians. Then, there’s the two Germans who introduced the game to Germany in 1874, and immigrants from there who took it over to America around that time. So, exactly where my bother-in-law thinks this particular ball is going to end up is anyone’s guess. I assume he’s talking about the first football association which was founded in England in 1863. Even so, that’s no reason for the English to get all frothy under the collar and claim England is the home of football just because they’ve won a couple of matches. ‘Its coming home’ suggests one was previously robbed, and to my mind, it smacks of that hideously, self-important phrase, ‘Take back control,’ that so successfully hid the lies that told the truth: that England was being run by self-serving idiots.

I pause here to share some calming images from Neil’s camera, taken last year in winter/spring.

I pause here to share some calming images from Neil’s camera, taken last year in winter/spring.

And breathe. Now we must turn our attention to the lions. Not the corner tea houses of old, but the three lions on the shirts so proudly worn by Englishmen of varying education levels and speech ability who chant, ‘Football’s coming home,’ with equally varied tonal accuracy. ‘Proud to be English, mate,’ he grunts as he slaps his chest like a silverback. Or, ‘Eng-er-land for the cup’, he chants, pulling his three lions closer to the camera, one for each syllable of his poor mispronounced country. All these proud men, women and children having a great time at the match, standing up for their team, showing off their three lions, a symbol of a nation of football watchers proud to have the three lions as their English emblem.

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The three mascots of Greek national team fame.

Who do we have to thank for England’s three lions?

The French. Some say it was Henry I who introduced the three lions to the flags, if so, he was of the House of Normandy (French). Others say that the motif was introduced by Henry II of the House of Anjou (French), while in between you’ve got the old King Stephen (French) Vs Emperess Matilda (daughter of Henry, born in England, but still, French, and there’s nothing I’ve seen that says she added the lions to the decoration, nor that she watched football).

Matilda empress of the Pedi valley. Possibly Emperor with those horns.

Matilda empress of the Pedi valley. Possibly Emperor with those horns.

Point being? None really. Just an observation that a) the home of football was some ancient civilisation thousands of years back and not Braintree, and the three lions of England came from the French. Maybe we should practice chanting Le football revient à la maison. Or how about, Eu domum venio? We could try 足球回家了,or, more appropriately, Το ποδόσφαιρο έρχεται σπίτι.

I shan’t be chanting anything as I will be celebrating the other godson’s 21st birthday at the restaurant. Enjoy.

Ps, bother-in-law is not a typo 😉

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Men in Shorts II

There’s not a great deal to report today. We spent the evening at Jenine’s house yesterday, and stopped off at the Rainbow on the way home. The square was busy with people watching ‘Men in Shorts II’, or some other entertainment, and, by the sound of it, they were having a jolly time. The television in one bar was, somehow, several seconds ahead of the one in the other bar, which made for an entertainment in itself. If something almost happened in the film, the one audience oohed and aahed, then calmed down, and as soon as they had, the viewers next door had the same reaction, like an echo, only louder.


Apparently, they’d all seen this film before, or one very like it, and they’d also seen it a hundred times, but still, they had come back for more. As far as I can make out, it’s a simple plot: One lot of men bob and bounce in front of another lot of men, try to get past them to achieve their goals, but only occasionally succeed. Meanwhile, everyone gets injured or hops about holding their foot, writhes on the floor in agony because someone else came too close, and the man in charge can’t do anything much but blow a whistle. Now and then, something of import will take place, and the audience lets out a loud roar, and then we go back to fifteen minutes of tension before something almost happens again. After the curtain comes down, there is a great debate across all television channels, where ancient men are wheeled out to dissect and discuss, and some channels put a token woman in the mix in the hope they will seem less mannish in their presentation. Apparently, the show will be repeated on Sunday.

Depending on what time the curtain goes up, I may or may not be in the audience. It’s our godson’s 21st on Sunday, and we will be celebrating that, for the early part of the evening at least. Who knows, we might drop in to see Act Two if we feel so inclined, or we might just turn up for the interval and then go home. That’s days away yet. Meanwhile, here’s a random photo.


The People Watching Awards

You know that old postcard line, ‘We get some kind of weather here every day’? Well, here on Symi in the summer season, I could well say, ‘We get some kind of oddball here every day,’ and I’m allowed to call people odd because I’m not bothered about accusations of being judgemental or ‘non-woke’, whatever that is. Why? Because other people’s insecurities are not my problem. In fact, if I had a ‘trigger’, it would be trigger warnings on book blurbs. But that’s a discussion for another day. Not.

Over the years we who like to people-watch have seen all kinds of sights and have heard all kinds of stories. I’ve already noted, here on these pages, the arrival in the village of the winners of the Miss Buttocks of the Year Award, which we give to the cheekiest girl in a thong and elastic band top who passes through on her way from the beach to their apartment as though we were the foyer of an all-inclusive hotel in Benidorm. We have recently noted the winner of the Can’t Live Without Instruction Man Award for the nob trying to find the road from Georgio’s to Yialos which is actually 360 + steps, but which the God Google-Map tells him is a main road, and he wouldn’t have any different despite the evidence of his own eyes.

Taking a photo break to draw breath and report this morning’s view. Temp at 5.30 am was 30° and humidity was at 70%.

Taking a photo break to draw breath and report this morning’s view. Temp at 5.30 am was 30° and humidity was at 70%.

In the past, some of us encountered a very oddball lady who, I am sure, as soon as she arrived decided the island was so tranquil she didn’t need to take her tablets ever again. Later to be seen being ejected from the island for setting a campfire in her hotel room. Then, there was a similar nominee for Dreamer of the Year, a barefoot lady who decided to marry the road sweeper and dragged him to the Town Hall to get married. I think she was also eventually escorted to Rhodes by the police (may have been the same woman, it was many years ago).

View from the office window this morning.

View from the office window this morning.

Men get in on the oddball act too. How about the nominee for the Idiot of the Year Award…? Actually, thinking about it, there have been several. There was the one who only wore white, thought he was Jesus, and decided he was going to buy a house on Nimos so he could let his sons drive their 4×4 up and down the mountain all day. (There’s only one house on Nimos, and the goats live there with no facilities and no roads or tracks.)

Not to be confused with ‘Twat in a Hat’ who has several stories attached to his history. A self-proclaimed fluent Greek speaker (ahem), he decided to have a chat with Phlegmsome George one afternoon and started off by asking him to guess his name. ‘Why?’ No go on, what do you think it is? ‘Why?’ Well, it’s not Yiannis, it’s not Petros, it’s not… This went on and on until George turned to me and said, in Greek, He’s a malaka, isn’t he? And the malaka asked what he’d said. Anyway, that was my introduction, and it was more painful than I make it sound. After this, he went and bought a horse in Rhodes, rented a property in Xisos which he never paid for, and when he escaped to Kos with someone else’s laundry, and the police finally caught up with him, they found two guns in his car and several more back at ‘Old Malakas Farm’ as he’d called the Xisos property. And yes, he even left out the apostrophe on Malaka’s, so a complete oddball if you ask me.

It's the heat that drives them to it.

It’s the heat that drives them to it.

I am sure there have been others — there’s one here at the moment, apparently, demanding to sit in the aisle at the taverna so she can see the view, asking for things that are clearly not on a menu, and generally being ‘off the medication.’ Spend an hour in a harbour-side café or even in the village where it’s quieter, and you will see all manner of oddballs. The day trip boats are full of them. The Brits who come over on SP Cruises, sit at the front exposed to the sun, walk around topless with bellies swinging (at least I cover mine up), and then repeat the process on the way home to wake the next day the colour of a lobster and just as stiffly boiled.

There will be at least one lurking in the pack somewhere…

There will be at least one lurking in the pack somewhere…

The award ceremony is held at the end of the season when everyone has time to kick back and reminisce on the summer just gone, so it’s not yet voting time. Keep an eye out, though, I’m sure many readers have their own stories of visiting oddities. If you do, leave them in the comments on our Facebook page, and we’ll enter them into the prize draw for later in the year. What’s the prize? A night out with a Neil Gosling of your choice… I don’t know, I’m making this up as I go, and I am going now. Bye.

A Day Off

We were beginning to wonder if our Chinese shop €5.00 garden thermometer was faulty as it seemed to go no higher than 37° when other people were reporting temperatures of 40° and 41°, so, to check, I put it in direct sunlight for five minutes. It was climbing past 47° when I whipped it back to the shade and put it on the north-facing wall, and it gradually recovered. Later, it was at 37°. The point there being, although it may only be 35° (or whatever) on the weather reports, that’s in the shade. Step out of hiding and you’re looking at something more like 50 +, and that’s why you have to be careful around here during the hotter months of the year.

To cool us down, here’s a shot of St Nicholas Beach taken one morning in February.

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The photos today are from Neil’s last year collection, which makes this sound like a fashion show, but as I don’t have anything new or earth shattering to show you, they’ll have to do. After an intense period of putting out two new books in the same month, I’m having something of an enforced go-slow. I started on the next mystery, but something wasn’t working, so I am going to start that again tomorrow. Today, we have things to do: shopping, swimming (for himself), collecting things from the post office, cooking lunch (me, himself made the ice cream yesterday), entertaining H for lunch, and then, for me, reading, and later a film. Such a stressful life.

What stress?

What stress?

Actually, it might be. If Neil remembers to call in on the accountant, we should learn the fate of our tax bill for last year. I should be able to look it up online, but I’ve forgotten how, and anyway, it’s safer if I’m given a printout with the amount and the payment number, I can then just pay it online and it’s done – assuming I can afford to pay it, that is.

So, apart from that, I foresee a quiet, non-writing day, which might also involve some light dusting and other necessary housework.

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If you have time to read, and fancy something criminal, here’s another interesting set of titles currently being promoted. They are all available in Kindel Unlimited, and some are also audiobooks.

All crime_ past, present and future

Click the banner to reach the books


The Game Never Ends

I just looked through my photos from the weekend and thought, ‘What on earth…?’ The cover of a new book, a newspaper cutting from January 1893, a shot of the taxi boats in Yialos, a couple of the dinner table at the Taj Mahal restaurant last night, a cruise ship leaving the harbour taken from up here, Yiannis visiting from Vancouver talking to Yiannis from Symi, and an advert for ‘The Midget Razor’ circa 1894. There’s also a goat, a pair of feet that look the wrong way round, and three screenshots from an online book telling me how to perform the vanishing man in a trunk trick on stage, as published in America in 1897. It has been, if nothing else, a varied weekend.

Not that I know much about weekends as you know. To misquote the Alan Parsons Project, ‘The game never ends when your whole world depends on the… sale of a few books,’ the more the better. Talking of which, if you like historical fiction, then some of these books may be of interest to you. Have a click through and browse, and if you want to know more about any of them, simply click the cover and you’ll get the info.

KU Historical Fiction Sales Promo

Meanwhile, the week ahead promises to be a relatively quiet one for me. It was 30° at six this morning with 60% humidity, so I don’t plan to travel very far. I have another chapter to write per day, as always, existing titles to promote, and a few social engagements in the diary. Our godson’s coming to lunch tomorrow so there’s a large note by the kettle reading ‘Ice Cream’ as I’ve promised him Neil will make some. We’re visiting his mother on Wednesday for a courtyard evening, shoes kicked off, cold bottle of wine, catch up on news… And it’s the older godson’s 21st on Sunday, so we are going to the Kali Strata Restaurant where his younger brother works so, in a way, we’re all together. Apart from that, expect little news and some odd photos. Talking of which, here are some Symi-relevant ones from the weekend.

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