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

Rain stops play

Images from Symi Greece

Office view, early morning

Blimmin’ cat & rain! The plan was, after a reasonably early night, to get up at 6.30 and head out for a fast walk to wake up and reboot the exercise routine, get back for around seven and get to work. Hmm.

The ear plugs went in at around midnight to counteract the sounds of ‘cat Vs cat’, outside, and then ‘cat on a loosely tiled roof’ above. After a very strange dream concerning old school friends, a falling apart hotel packed with guests, brilliant doodle artist, playing the piano on a golf course at night and a room flooding with water, the ear plugs fell out somewhere before 5.30. Which is when the Alarm Cat decided he’d had enough of the great outdoors and wanted to come back in. I tried ignoring him for a while but it didn’t work.

Images from Symi Greece

Sitting room view, the church of Saint Evangalismos is lit up in Harani

So, I was up just after 5.30, sitting in the living room waiting for it to get light so I could go out on my walk. Just after six it started ringing and it still is, now at 6.40 so that’s put paid to that theory. Instead, I thought I’d come and do the blog and make an early start so I can go back to bed before lunch. Only joking. I am going to spend the day periodically waking the cat up as he dozes blissfully on his new sofa.

Images from Symi Greece

On a sunny walk in December

I am actually going to spend part of it putting together the second wardrobe in the hope that it won’t look too big in the utility room. I also have to do a bit of shopping but that’s about exciting as my Tuesday is now going to get. Famous last words. You know what it is like around here, anything can happen.

Images from Symi Greece

Around Pitini in February

And what’s happened is that Blue Star has put us back on its timetable. Whether we were missed out by accident, due to some dispute or just for a laugh is still uncertain, but Symi, and other smaller islands on its route, are now being advertised again. Good news for anyone aiming for Rhodes tomorrow. And if you are, you might be keeping an eye on the weather (as you have to when planning to use a boat at this time of year, as we saw recently). My forecast says it’s going to be mainly sunny tomorrow, but then it says it for now and you can see by the photos (taken just now morning) that it’s anything but. Friday looks bad, lots of wind and rain, so probably not the best day for a day out in Rhodes. But the weekend looks like it’s improving.


That’s the up to date Symi weather for you. The rain is still coming down, filling our sterna I am pleased to say so lots of free water, but also preventing my early morning exercise. Perhaps I’ll go out later. Perhaps I’ll join the noisy cat on the sofa…

A new week on Symi, back to a routine

Images from Symi Greece

Cat’s at home then

March 2nd, eh? Happy month (kalo mina) to you, and we’re waking up, here on Symi, to a bright day left a little damp after last night’s rain. We’ve had our fair share of rain recently but that’s winter in Greece for you.

This week is going to be a week of entertaining and trying to get back into a routine after the upheaval of moving house. If feels like the weekend was the first real weekend of the new house, and the first settled period for a while. We had friends over last night for dinner and then sat in the new living room on the new sofas and chatted; all very civilised.

Images from Symi Greece

Sunday’s Symi weather

This week feels like it’s going to be the first week in a while where we’ve not had to buy anything (for the new house), or carry anything heavy up and down the lane, or put anything up, though there are still boxes and bags to be unpacked and Neil’s office looks like an explosion in a camera museum. We’ll get there.

Images from Symi Greece

This morning it’s more like this

We’ll be interrupted by tap dance class tonight, the first we’ve been able to attend in two weeks –the last two were missed as, after all the carrying and trudging, there was no more left in the old legs, so tonight it will be interesting to see what, if anything we can remember. Then we have a friend coming for lunch on Wednesday, the boys coming to tea on Saturday, and people coming for a house warming on Sunday.

Images from Symi Greece

Village square after the rain

Meanwhile we want to get back to Aerobics, for Neil, and early morning walks – as long as the rain stays away. And I also want to get back to finishing the book and starting on another, or doing some kind of half-decent writing work at least. So, there’s lost planned for this week, and only time will tell if any of it actually happens.

Images from Symi Greece

Yialos after a storm

It should also see an advancement for Jack as last night was the first night since being here that he was out all night. I put my ear plugs in but could still him in heated debate with the ginger cat who thinks she lives here. He’s outside now, throwing kitty litter around the porch (that can move across the courtyard as soon as we get a couple of dry days) and complaining about being unable to wander in and out of the house when he wants; we can’t keep the door open or else Ginger will come in and make herself at home and we don’t want kittens in the wardrobe.

So, off to work we go, into a new week and a new month, and, it seems a new Blue Star ferry schedule with, so far, no stops at Symi (and other smaller, non-subsidised islands) advertised. Ooh-er, what’s going to happen there?

Today’s spam and other nonsense

Images from Symi Greece

Neil creating something with bacon (it was very good!)

Saturday morning, in a silly mood, and otherwise at a bit of a loss as to what to tell you so here’s a rundown of what’s in my ‘Mailwasher’ in box – today’s spam and junk headlines (that are printable).

Apparently, Ed Miliband has been in touch and is desperate to let me know that he is going to cut tuition fees by a third. From £9,000 to $6,000 – well whoop-di-do and Bali High that’s some news but not nearly enough of a cut. And then Sports Direct tell me it’s pay day (I wish) and I can treat myself to something. If only. Next there is something from Russia I can’t repeat and then Aegean Airlines have sent me their newsletter which I am not interested in today as I am not planning to fly anywhere anytime soon.

Images from Symi Greece

Jenine’s kitchen, action shot asks me, ‘Who do you think you are?’, which sounds rather brash, and I find it rather impertinent so I ignore them, and something called Fun Cards tells me that it is Colin Brown’s birthday to day. Well, that’s just dandy but who the hades is Colin Brown and why should I want to know about, let alone care about, his botherday. (I meant to write ‘birthday’ but I am still waking up, my fingers are really stiff after putting the furniture together after carrying it up the steps/hill/road and botherday came out and I rather like it. If you don’t like birthdays have a botherday instead.)

Images from Symi Greece

Here she is again, expertly putting a sofa together

Oh get on with it. It’s a Saturday morning and I have a new wardrobe to put my clothes away in at last. (Which took two days to put together).

Ah look! Denny’s invoice for something requires Microsoft Office to be installed on my system (it is) and Xpat Athens has sent me a headline: Need a break? Actually yes, I do, from all this silly spam – though I have to say, Xpat Athens is okay and I do usually read their emails and newsletters and see what’s going on.

Images from Symi Greece

The harbour yesterday

And while all that rubbish is being washed away by my Mailwasher programme (you should try it, it’s great), down in the harbour below the sea is calm, the light is bouncing off the houses over in Harani, it all looks far too bright and cheery for a Saturday morning and I am going to head off and, finally, put the DVDs and CDs away and tidy up the now rather smart looking living room. Have a good weekend and I shall be back with more nonsense on Monday, insha’Allah.

Symi village chickens, a truck and things

Images from Symi Greece

Thursday morning Symi weather check

In house, at desk, washing machine going in utility room next door, Neil at work in his office, Jack having a good old ding-dong with Ginger over whose courtyard this is now, and I can see the lorry driving along the quayside below.

That’s THE lorry apparently. Okay, so when you read this it’s actually yesterday morning but that’s because I have a busy day and evening planned and will want an early start tomorrow. So, blog done and out of the way seems the way to go today. Apparently Lefteris is delivering lots of Ikea things to The Olive Tree (for us) at ‘messimeri’ – midday, or thereabouts. We shall be waiting here, or hereabouts, hanging around like a couple of eager furniture removers, or layabouts.

Images from Symi Greece

When the boat comes in

(Old ‘Carry On’ gag twisted a little there, sorry.)

Not sure if the fridge freezer is among the items that are apparently on their way to the village any time soon, that’s coming from a different supplier, but we’ve prepared the sitting room as best we can for the sofas, and then, once they are in, will upturn the bedroom so we can make room to make up the wardrobe. Sam might be coming to help later as he’s a Wiz with Ikea instructions. Anyone who can build today’s Lego challenges without any hassle can surely cope with Ikea instructions.

Images from Symi Greece

Same thing

And then, later today, after bringing things up the hill and hopefully having time to put some together, we are off for a tap practice, postponed from Monday due to it being Clean Monday. It seems so long since I’ve been (as the previous Monday was moving in day and we were shattered) that I can’t remember what my feet are meant to do. No doubt we will get a gentle, or not so gentle, reminder later.

Images from Symi Greece

Chicken corner, Horio

So, that’s yesterday for you. On Wednesday we went out and about for a brief walk, so there are a few village walk shots to add to the blog including a few chickens, and the boat coming in bringing our delivery – and probably some other more important things too. I mean to say that when Neil was at the doctor’s surgery in Yialos on Wednesday morning, half the town council were also in there with a video camera. Apparently some new equipment had arrived and there was a bit of a publicity thing going on. Not sure what new equipment, but no doubt I’ll find out one day.

Images from Symi Greece

Just gassing

Oh, and our digital channels have now disappeared from the TV; will have to pop down to Yialos and see what needs doing/buying in order to get them back. Will also check the post office where hundreds of sacks of delayed mail arrived on Wednesday.

Yialos, Digital TV on Symi and Ginger Spice

Images from Symi Greece

A tug rearranging the barge that’s building the new jetty

Wednesday started off clear, then wet, then clear again and finally settled down to what people were jokingly referring to as ‘Kalokairi’, summer. I wouldn’t go that far but as I write, late on Wednesday afternoon, the sun is lighting up Harani and the church of Evangalismos, the sea is a kind of grey-blue hybrid, and calm, and there is a sky that resembles the opening of ‘the Simpsons.’

Images from Symi Greece

Eurika met me outside the accountant’s office

Actually, it’s not as late as I think, I haven’t seen the Blue Star come back in yet and that’s due at 16.30. We saw it come in in the morning, as we were down in Yialos dealing with some bits and pieces: Cat litter, doctor visit, accountant, cat food, post office check, collecting a new toaster, having a coffee, watching the world go by, that kind of thing.

Images from Symi Greece

Some kind of plant (well, don’t ask me!)

We managed to collect several bags and a large box and so didn’t walk back up, not with five kilos of kitty-litter, two kettles, one toaster and shopping, not in the ‘summer.’ Back at the house we discovered that Jack had not been guarding the place and ‘Ginger Spice’ had helped herself to not only his food but also to stuff from what I thought was a bag yet to be un packed, but turned out to be yesterday’s potato peelings. She, Ginger, was clearly not impressed by them and left them on the floor for me. But now she thinks she’s allowed in and has serious designs not only on eating Jack’s food but making him the adopted father of the kittens she’s about to drop. We’re not having that!

Images from Symi Greece

A view of H Lemonitisa, from the Kali Strata

Jack is now spending more time outside growling at Ginger Spice and sniffing the walls, and when he is not doing that he is wandering around randomly shouting at things, checking every closed door and following me about like a dog. He’s fine in the evenings when he settles on his rug beside the heater as we watch films from the discomfort of our director’s chairs. Which brings us on to furniture deliveries. We didn’t see the big truck coming off the boat this morning and Michaelis has no idea if our furniture is on it if/when it does arrive; he won’t know until he opens the doors. But, as I write, the boat is due in half an hour and from up here in my aerie I am going to watch to see if the big truck comes off it. More scintillating furniture delivery news may come your way very soon if you are incredibly unlucky…

Images from Symi Greece

Ginger Spice with her eye on Jack

But before that, you might like to start the on-going adventures of ‘Neil and the name-change.’ Our landlord wants the electricity bill for the house to be in the tenant’s name – Neil; the accountant has given him some papers and instruction to take them to the ΔΕΗ. He’s been to the ΔΕΗ and the chap there had no idea what to do with them and suggested he called the ΔΕΗ helpline that you find on the bill. That’s part one of this tale which, I have a feeling, will run and run.

Oh, but talking of luck: Symi is now on digital TV and if you don’t have a certain kind of TV you will need to buy a box or something. I thought I’d give our non-smart TV a go and found that it automatically tuned itself in to about 15 sparklingly clear Greek channels without the aid of a digi-box. So our TV does have a use after all!

Symi’s Clean Monday, discipline, Diagoras and dirt

Symi Greece Simi

Some cheerier views and pics today to take our minds off the grey and cloud

Clean Monday was a bit of a wash-out for most, though I am sure everyone did what they could and had a good time. Remember, ‘If you can’t do what you want to then you do the things you can.’

We worked at home in the morning, and then went to the Harry house for a rather non-Clean Monday indoor barbeque complete with quizzes and regular boat check-ups. It’s become something of a pastime around here, clicking back to your tablet to check on the Live Ships app to see where the Blue Star Diagoras is and follow its trail as it hangs about off Rhodes waiting for the wind and swell to die down. It did though call into Symi yesterday on its way back to Athens. Let’s hope it got there in time to turn around and head back here tomorrow.

Symi Greece Simi

Symi winter sun

And on that note: no sign of the new furniture as yet, though there may be by the time this gets auto-posted on Wednesday morning. In case you were wondering: when you order from you can get a text message saying when your things have left the warehouse. Then you might get an email to say they are on their way. We (or rather Jenine who is dealing with it) got a message to say things had been delivered, but that actually means delivered to the courier, I guess. So they could be sat at Piraeus still, waiting for the truck to be filled so it can be dispatched. They could then have been on last Tuesday’s boat that never was, and not actually been unloaded until last night. We shall never really know. But when the company says delivery has been made, it doesn’t necessarily mean delivered to you.

Symi Greece Simi

Symi morning sun – almost

We had a similar courier problem just before Christmas when Neil’s order didn’t arrive even though the courier headquarters told us it was on Symi. We asked all the courier agents we could think of, and the postman, and never did find the delivery. Not until Neil had asked, in mid January, for his money back and the shop he bought the things from tracked down the courier agent on Symi who had had the package since well before Christmas but had not told anyone. And so it goes on: the joys of having deliveries made to Symi. I think there’s a section about this in ‘Symi 85600’ or ‘Carry On Up The Kali Strata.’ (See the links on the right and order copies if you’ve not got one already.)

Symi Greece Simi

Steps in Pitini

And on the book news front: we are still editing and preparing ‘Lonely House’, my next horror novel to come from RC Publications – due out around March or April.

Now that I have my new ‘office’ more or less set up and am getting used to it, I can see that it’s going to be so much easier to be disciplined in this new house. I don’t mean told off or given the slipper, I mean self-disciplined. Leaving the living quarters part of the house and entering the ‘office’ side gives you a feeling of actually going out to work, rather than working from home. There are fewer distractions, with only the view of Yialos and Nimos to distract me from my tasks. So hopefully, soon, when it’s slightly warmer, I will get back into the coursework I want to do and the writing I want to do and put down another novel of some description ready for Christmas sales. Perhaps.

First though, I have shopping to do and an enthusiastically filled cat litter tray to empty. Ah, the life of a novelist eh!