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 Chat from Symi Visitor – some news

symi forum

The Symi forum

You may already be a member, you may have thought about it but been put off for some reason, you may not have needed it, but maybe now’s the time to log back in and have a browse around, or to sign up and take a look and get chatting about Symi, Greece. There’s lots to learn, lots of nice people to meet, helpful tips from regular visitors, and Symi residents alike, and it’s more specific and focused than many of the Symi Facebook pages – and not everyone has a Facebook addiction. It’s also friendly, positive and poses no technical challenges to those who are wary of being online.

Symi Greece photos

Currently blooming on the island

I am talking about the Symi Visitor Chat Pages, as they are sometimes called. It’s actually the Symi Forum now, as the following information from the Symi Forum community outreach press and publicity department officer explains:

“Symi Chat” the internet forum run by Symi Visitor has moved to a new home:

Over the last eight years its 820 members have made more than 31,000 mostly Symi-related posts on the site.

Symi Greece photos

Out of the water for the winter

Much has changed in the internet world over those eight years and the creaky old software running the forum was well past its best-before date, causing no end of bother. So, a new forum was set up, running on fancy modern software and after a lot of faffing about, most of the posts from the old site were copied over.

Symi Greece photos

Regular Sunday afternoon military attendance at the war memorial (from a distance)

The user accounts were copied over too so members will be able to continue using their existing username. Passwords have been changed though. Most members will have been sent an email with their login details, including a new password, so should be able to log in to the new site. Anyone who wants to continue using their old user name but didn’t get their email (the email address list is very old!) should contact for help.

Anyone who had the old forum bookmarked should change their bookmark to The links on the Symi Visitor home page will soon be changed to take you to the new forum automatically.

Me: So, I’ll leave you with this and their link [Symi forum] and the suggestion that you might like to a) renew/refresh/use your membership and see what’s new, b) sign up (free of course) for a new membership and start browsing and chatting, c) pass this post on to others who may be interested, or share this post around Facebook, and d) pop in to the new-look forum and wish everyone a happy Christmas. See you back here on Monday though, don’t be late!

My random Thursday, on a Friday

Symi Greece Simi

Rainy mornings

Random blog this morning (yesterday afternoon). Have just had rather a busy day and am expecting another one tomorrow (today). You’ll get used to it.

When I say busy, I mean busy for me/us. It started during the night with a thunderstorm around five in the morning which got me up to go and unplug the essentials in the front room; phone, computer, router etc. One power surge and we’re electronically cut off for days. Back to bed just in time for the Alarm Cat to wake me up again, and so to the desk by just after 6.30 and emails to do, things to check and so on. A morning spent working and doing some weight lifting (as you do), while Neil dashed to the post office, got caught in more rain, went to a Pilates class and came back with another bill for the shop we no longer have.

Symi Greece Simi

Dawn chorus

I made lunch and we took an hour and twenty minutes off to have that and watch an episode of something on TV before Neil headed off to a Zumba class and I set about the house chores: wrapping a few more presents (still loads to hope will arrive on Friday’s boat), and then hoovering the house from one end to the other, then polishing and tidying the sitting room, and then having a shave and all this while the cooker was absorbing the over cleaner I’d sprayed on it, after translating the back of the can to see if I needed to heat up or not. I didn’t, and neither did the oven. Then half an hour on my knees cleaning the inside of the thing, with Jimmy Somerville as my favoured throwback musical accompaniment, then tidying up some left over boxes, and now sitting down to write this before Neil gets back and I make dinner.

Symi Greece Simi

A lonely Symi windmill

That should be followed by a postponed game of golf, all being well, and tomorrow promises to be even more fun with another trip to Yialos a possibility, and certainly more housework and writing, I hope.

So, that’s the kind of thing that goes on in our house during the winter months, in case you were wondering. That and picking up towels after it’s rained, putting them down when it is raining, checking things are unplugged when there’s a storm, emptying the trash and, it feels like, endlessly shopping. I’ll let you get on with your random Friday now and go and clean the bathroom or something.

The Symi Alarm Cat news update and nonsense

Symi Greece photos

Lonely tree

First: Confusion of boats caused by blog writer thinking about postal services – bottom line: it’s now announced that the Blue Star will be calling in this Friday and next Wednesday but not next Friday but next Sunday instead and it won’t be in on January 2nd but January 4th instead all due to holidays and if you want the Symi Tours announcement in Greek here it is:

Tα δρομολόγια του πλοίου Διαγορας 26/12 κ 02/01 δε θα εκτελεστούν λόγω των εορτών. Τα δρομολόγια αυτά θα αναπληρωθούν 28/12 κ 04/01 αντίστοιχα με επιστροφή από Ρόδο την επόμενη μέρα.Για περισσότερες πληροφορίες επικοινωνήστε με το πρακτορείο μας.

Symi Greece photos

The one-time favourite armchair

So, that’s all sorted out then. What else is going on? Well, the Alarm Cat has decided that as it is December it is far healthier to sleep outside during the day and evening than it is to sleep inside where it’s warm. He has spent the last couple of days on his terrace bench (as opposed to his downstairs-lobby bench which is more sheltered) curled up and dozing happily. Normally, at this time of year, he favours inside. He has no particular place inside, last week it was on top of Neil’s rucksack, last winter it was the spare (only) armchair, and before that it was on my trunk in the front room.

Symi Greece photos

Sound advice

But in recent days he’s come in, in the morning, for first breakfast, then spent an hour at my feet by the heater before his second breakfast, then gone outside to see if there are any decent fights worth having, coming back in for third breakfast/elevenses and finally settling down on his terrace bench until lunchtime. He has this knack of knowing when we are just sitting down to eat and coming in and wanting to join the feasting. He sits right in front of me and stares up in a very annoying fashion, like a dog that’s been allowed to beg at the table. The only option is to escort him to his own table for second lunch and hope he goes outside straight after, otherwise my midday meal and TV viewing (currently the Inspector Linley Mysteries, gawd, she a moany old grump isn’t she?) is ruined.

Symi Greece photos

More sound advice!

And then, in recent days, he has taken himself back outside to enjoy the cold air and has curled up quite happily for the rest of the day. Sometimes he’s been back in for three rounds of afternoon tea and dinner at eight, followed by a couple of suppers (he’s a grazer is our Jack) and then quite happily taken himself off outside for the night. Having said all that, today he is still at my feet and we’ve only had two sittings of breakfast so far.

Yesterday he was walking with a pronounced limp form the leg he smashed up a few years ago. You don’t normally notice it but yesterday he ‘sure had a hitch in his giddyup’ as our Californian friend used to say. Seems better today. I suspect the cold air is playing it up, and a touch of rheumatism or arthritis has set in, he is nearly 12 after all.

Symi Greece photos

And even more sound advice.

So, that’s’ the AC news for the time being. He’s fit and well otherwise, his black patches on his nose and ears come and go, but nothing has developed too far as yet. He’s still as fat as ever due to the fact that he used to body-build and now it’s all gone to flab, and he’s still moulting despite the fact it’s winter. He’s bought Neil a Christmas present which has arrived and been wrapped, and is waiting for a couple of small gifts he ordered for Harry and Sam who feed him while he is away.

And that is enough cat nonsense for one day, I have things to think about writing, housework to do and probably need to quickly go and shop for cat food between Jack-meals.

Consider your layers when on Symi

Symi Greece photos

Following the recent heavy rain…

It was a quick trip to the harbour yesterday. It’s always hard to know what to wear, not because of any fashion concerns, there’s a distinct lack of that around here in the winter, but because of the heating situation.

What I mean is, it’s okay walking down the Kali Strata in a jumper and jacket, but once you get to the bottom and head over the bridge you’re sweating, even at this time of year. It wasn’t particularly cold yesterday, but felt it coming from the warm-ish house with only a t-shirt and a light jacket on. But then, by the time I reached the National Bank, I was feeling slightly moist, by the time I’d done my chores I was sweating, by the time I’d bumped into the accountant and got a few hundred euros worth of bills handed to me I was dripping (could have been tears) and by the time I reached Horio again I looked like an unwrapped mummy and needed a bottle of water or two, and was very wet on the inside. So, consider your layers when heading out and about on Symi this winter.

Symi Greece photos

Yialos yesterday

While I was out and about yesterday I noticed that Pacho’s kafeneion was open again and that the International is also still open for meals. That’s handy to know as we may be having our Symi Dream Christmas party later this week or early next and it would make a nice change to go there; a nice change from a gyros that is. I also learned that the Blue Star is due to run as usual this Wednesday, Friday and next Wednesday, but won’t then be back until the 27th December heading to Rhodes and back, due to the fact that, to complete its usual run, it would have to leave Piraeus on Christmas Day, so that’s not going to happen. So, limited fresh supplies for a while after this Friday; unless some things arrive on the ‘Spanos.’ Time to knuckle down for the real winter months!

Symi Greece photos

Nativity scene in the town square

I also picked up a few Christmas deliveries while at the post office and a card – thank you to Alun and Andy for that, and wishing you a good upcoming trip in February. And I took a couple of photos, quickly, one of the boats on a very flat sea and the other of the crib on the town’s main stage. And that was about the highlight of my daytime yesterday, that and some Christmas present wrapping that is.

Symi golf challenge and other things to do

Symi Greece photos

Ah, the things you see in Pedi. Must be some students living nearby.

It seems like ages since I have written a blog post at this time of the day; it’s Tuesday morning, 6.45 and I’m just sitting down at the desk. The last couple of weeks I’ve had the weeks’ posts ready to go by a Monday evening, because we’ve been out on long walks and I’ve had plenty to talk about, in advance. This Sunday we had a Sunday lunch at the Harry House instead, so I’ve not been able to move much since then and it’s put my schedule out of sync.

Symi Greece photos

A grumpy looking Symi rock.

But here we are, with the sun not yet up, the temperature outside chilly, a few clouds in the dark grey sky, and even the Alarm Cat still asleep on his outside bench. What’s the day got in store?

A wander to Yialos to see if there is anything at the post office. Apparently Friday’s delivery (via the big boat) has been unpacked and people have started to find things they were waiting for. Let’s hope the 101 things we ordered are waiting for me as there is only one more boat before Christmas. That’s on Friday of this week, if ordered items are not on that boat they won’t be in until after Christmas Day as the post comes on the Blue Star and that only comes on Wednesday and Friday. Fingers crossed.

Symi Greece photos

Even the trees have ears.

We still have our local Christmas Shopping to do, but that’s about it. Mind you, I don’t know when Neil is going to find the time to fit it in what with his Pilates, Zumba and tap dancing classes. We went to tap last night and had a good thrash-o-the-feet for an hour and a half or so. We’re half way through learning one routine for a show in April, but nowhere near up to speed on it, at least I’m not, but we are pretty hopeful that we will be by the time we get there.

Symi Greece photos

Long view

And after Yialos? A game of golf is in order tonight I think, we’ve started up our Symi golf challenge for the 2014/15 season, we’ve played four courses so far and Neil is first on the leader board by one stroke.

If you were wondering where the course (let alone courses) is on Symi, it’s in our sitting room inside the Xbox; it’s a winter tradition us boys have set up, the Tiger Woods challenge, it keeps us off the streets. So the week currently runs as: Monday, tap, Tuesday, Pilates, Zumba and golf, Wednesday (possibly aerobics – can you imagine!), Thursday Pilates and Zumba, Friday, card school, Saturday (and relax) and Sunday long walks. Ah the winter life on Symi!

Random Sunday observations and thoughts

Symi Greece photos

December skies

Neil has just discovered that the parachuting Santa his bought from Haroula on Friday evening (after a very long lunch) is voice activated. He started singing along to the loudspeakered Sunday morning liturgy (!) and it went off right beside him, giving him a shock, but waking him up. There will now be no peace on earth in our house. As I try and work in the front room I keep hearing, ‘Boo!’ followed by ‘You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout or I’ll spit in your eye,’ or something similar.

Symi Greece photos

From Cafe Eva, Friday

The first Christmas presents are under the tree, all the way from Penzance in a box that also included a t-shirt for padding; very practical my mum. The T-shirt has a slogan on the front, in French, and Neil has already claimed it for his own, the slogan reads: ‘I don’t have a minute to myself, I’m retired.’ I know the feeling. I keep trying to get on with ‘Straight Swap’ my comedy novel, but keep getting side-tracked by other things, mainly checking the post and eating.

Symi Greece photos

One of Symi’s ancient sites

Neil’s upstairs in his new office right now and has just shouted down, ‘There’s no blog today then?’ like it was some kind of accusation. I reply: ‘It’s a Sunday,’ to which he counters with a rather grudging, ‘Oh, okay then.’ I mean, I’m actually writing tomorrow’s post now, and it IS a Sunday morning! As my nephew would say ‘FFS.’ (Wasn’t that a furniture store?) I should be out doing the garden or feeding the cat or something, I don’t have a minute to myself and I am not even retired yet. Apparently you can’t do that these days unless you are 95 because the average life expectancy of a normal person is 123, assuming they never eat at McDonald’s and strictly avoid polyester. I mean, DFS! (That was it.)

Symi Greece photos

High on a hill stood a lonely…

And so I move on to tell you that after last week’s deluge, the weather has perked up and Saturday was and Sunday so far is, rather sunny and lovely. We decided not to go out on a walk today because we wanted to do nothing at home instead. Actually, I have planned to wrap some presents and put them under the tree, but I am currently waiting for a wagon load to arrive in the post. My box to mother took about ten days to get to Cornwall, but other things coming in the other direction seem to be taking weeks. It’s one of those strange Star Trek time-warp (just a step to the left) things where posted items move more quickly heading up and to the left than they do down and to the right. (I put that in just for you, Terri.) But there could be a reason for that as my tame journalist in the UK wrote to me the other day:

Symi Greece photos

The Christmas fairy

“Meanwhile, just heard that Christmas in the UK is descending into chaos. You may have heard there was a major airports computer failure yesterday that brought loads of airports to a complete standstill. And of course James (1) found himself stuck in a plane at Heathrow going nowhere when he was heading off to Berlin for an important shoot today. Don’t know if he’s made it.

Symi Greece photos

Winter seas

But the biggest mess is the complete collapse of the UK’s online delivery services. So many people have ordered their Christmas online – not just presents, but the food orders as well – that the online retailers and their delivery companies are in melt-down, unable to cope. Warnings are now going out that many deliveries will not now be made in time for Christmas. So I expect a lot of people will be having a “Margot Christmas”. Remember that episode? (2) When Margot’s bought in Christmas failed to arrive? Christmas at the Leadbetters had to be cancelled but they ended up having a great time with Tom and Jerry next door and their homemade Christmas.”

Symi Greece photos

Meanwhile, over the road in Turkey…

I hope your Christmas arranging hasn’t fallen into chaos, and I am very much looking forward to our dress rehearsal this afternoon, where Jenine has invited us and a couple of others for a roast dinner. I am currently making up some proper Christmas music CDs to play (carols, not songs about parachuting Coke advertisements) and am even going as far as to consider going to Yialos to buy some horseradish sauce. I’ll keep you posted on that scintillating adventure in due course. Meanwhile, have a good week ahead.

(1)    James. Not me, my friend’s nephew who is the current Hugo Boss model.
(2)    ‘The Good Life’ 70s TV series in the UK.