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 sunrise for a new week

Symi sunrise for a new week
Today, to start your new week, we have photos and two videos taken just after sunrise on Saturday morning. This post is being written on Saturday morning ready for Monday as I am planning a day at the desk on the novel for Sunday and, if I start fiddling around with posts and things I will distract myself and miss some writing time. So, if any other ground-coffee breaking news happens on Symi it will have to wait until Tuesday’s post. But I do have some news for you…

Symi Greece Symi Dream

Symi sunrise

Found this out by accident. Neil went down to buy boat tickets for Monday as he’s off to Rhodes to meet his brother, coming back on Tuesday. (I’ll be on bar cover on Monday afternoon.) He booked on the Panagia Skiadeni leaving at 07:00 on Monday morning and booked to come back on the Tuesday crossing, on the same boat, at 09:30 – a sensible time as you can still get your hotel breakfast down your screech before heading to the boat. This one, the Panagia again, comes directly to Yialos on a Tuesday, so they will be here by 11:15 or so (watch out Pacho’s, James II is coming to town). So what’s the news? Well, Symi Tours, where he went for these tickets, told him he didn’t have to pay his return fare. It seems that there’s an offer on and if you go and come back on the same boat, you get the return fare for free, saving you €13.50 I think it is. That certainly applies to the Panagia Skiadeni, I’m not sure if it applies to the others in the fleet but you can check the website and the discounts page. THey also have a day cruise offers page.

Symi Greece Symi Dream

From the castro

What this means for you, dear Symi holidayer, is that if you are here and fancy a day-trip, you can get on this boat early, at 07:00, spend a day in Rhodes, see the Old Town, the museums, the Grand Masters’ Palace, the 9D Cinema, the beaches, and probably even get to Lindos as back, or other places, and still come back to Symi in the evening (or the next day) on the same boat. And all for only €13.50 – while the offer lasts.

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Over the village

‘Yeah, but I come to Symi to holiday on Symi!’
‘Well, yes, understood. I’m only saying…’

Symi Greece Symi Dream

Part of the village in morning light

There are more and more folk coming for longer and longer periods of time, two, three even four weeks or more and this might be an idea for them, or anyone interested to see other islands. You can also do a day trip to Kos or Kalymnos with the faster catamarans, and still get back to Symi the same day. Thing is, the further you travel, the less time you have on those other islands unless you stay overnight. Something else you could do. I’m not trying to send people away from Symi, I’m just being helpful, I hope, and pointing out that Dodekanisos Seaways have this offer on. It’s also a good one for doing a day’s shopping in Rhodes, if you don’t mind a fairly long day, or for seeing to appointments and other necessities.

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Homewards down the lane

I am sure there as some other news I was going to tell you but I can’t remember what it is now. It will have to wait. But, if you are heading this way you might like to know that the forecasts are still showing hot hot hot, but with slightly stronger winds, which will be a help. Mind you, around here when it’s windy in hot weather it’s like having some giant hairdryer blasting at you, not that I’ve not felt the need for a hairdryer since 1980-something. The sites are showing high 20s, but we all know it’s more like mid-30s over here; it’s 34 degrees in the shadiest part of our courtyard today.

So, plenty of sunshine coming your way and a free return trip to Rhodes should you want a day out while on holiday on Symi!

And here are two videos if you have a minute to enjoy the sight. Camera-movement sound is included I’m afraid, but so are the natural sounds of the morning chorus.

Refugee update

I’m sorry, I am not normally negative, and so I am not going to write much today. I will let you know that I’ve contacted our contact at the British Consulate in Rhodes who is, I imagine, completely inundated with enquiries, and asked her to keep me posted on what yesterday’s news may mean for us British immigrants in Greece. I doubt anyone knows much as yet, and it will depend on how Greece want to play it. But hopefully the Consulate will keep me informed in due course so I can post news and links on here for our regular readers. [Update: I had an email and it’s printed below.]

I also have to mention the refugee situation on Symi as I have had a few enquiries of late and thought it best to put some people’s minds at rest. No, ‘Concerned of Little Britain’, your holiday will not be in any way ‘tarnished’ (sic) by the sight of the suffering and homeless; we have not had any refugees on Symi since last year (apart from a couple of very small groups in the winter). The only refugees here at the moment could well be ourselves.

Dear James,

Thank you for your email below. Symi and the meeting we had earlier this month was indeed a success and I would like to thank you for your assistance in getting the word out on the island; sorry we did not get to meet you, but hope to do so at some point not too far in the future!

Regarding the referendum and the result and its impact, we can refer you at this stage to the statement given by the Prime Minister earlier today, wherein he reassures British nationals living in European countries and European citizens living in the UK that there will be no immediate changes in their circumstances. There will be no initial change in the way British people can travel, in the way our goods can move or the way our services can be sold.

Please follow our social media on www.facebook.com/ukingreece and the @ukingreece handle on twitter for more information as and when more formal communications are published. Thank you in advance for promoting and sharing these.

Best regards,
Rania

Enjoy some varied Symi photos to take your mind off what’s happening in Britain.

Images from Symi Greece by Neil Gosling and James Collins

Having a happy holiday

Images from Symi Greece by Neil Gosling and James Collins

A Pedi view

Images from Symi Greece by Neil Gosling and James Collins

Garlic bread at Meraklis

Images from Symi Greece by Neil Gosling and James Collins

Fisherman at work

Images from Symi Greece by Neil Gosling and James Collins

From the hillside

Images from Symi Greece by Neil Gosling and James Collins

The Roukouniotis tree

Images from Symi Greece by Neil Gosling and James Collins

I know where I’d rather live

 

 

Symi 85600 – life on Symi

Symi 85600 – life on Symi
Symi 85600 is my best selling title so far this month: it looks like there’s a lot of interest in Symi at the moment.

I think this fabulous review might have had something to do with it: “I loved this honest and highly amusing account of leaving it all behind and heading to a Greek island. James has a brilliant command of the English language and makes it altogether much more fun than English language ever was at school! If I was to follow in James and Neil’s footsteps then this is the book I would tuck under my arm and head to Greece with. I cannot wait to read it again…..and again…..and again…..I want to be buried with it – which may well be sooner than I think since I nearly died laughing during some of his witty observations!”

Symi Greece Symi Dream

The Customs House is being quickly repaired

(I know there’s a lot of interest in certain other things today, but we’re not going there.) ‘Symi 85600’ (it’s the postcode in case you were wondering) is the first of my three books about moving to and living on this island. I am planning another one for next year, a collection of thoughts based on some of the blog posts from here, but expanded and hopefully made more amusing. That’s next on the writing table after ‘Remotely’ which we are still hoping to have out next month, and ‘the Saddling’ which is currently at 80,000 words of the first draft and for which I have just bought ‘A Dictionary of the Kentish Dialect and Provincialisms’ as it’s set on the Romney Marshes, in Kent.

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Might need some doing-up

Meanwhile, on Symi, it seems that someone has been testing out the Tannoy system that is used to make island-wide announcements. For the past couple of nights we’ve had this strange, disembodied voice, shouting out, ‘Ena, thio, tria’ after a few distorted dodgy notes that are a mix of the Hi-Di-Hi glockenspiel, the Chanel 4 theme and something else I can’t quite put my ears on when I hear it. It happens in the evening and I’ve heard some say it’s coming from the police station. That all sounds rather ‘1984’ to me. On Wednesday night we were treated to some scratchy ‘Zorba the Greek’ and I wonder if we will get any more of it to drift off to sleep to. All rather odd, but amusing, as life tends to be around here. It’s all a bit mabbled, as my new dictionary would have it; all rather confused. It’s also interesting to note that Tannoy without the T reads, Annoy.

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Taking an alternative route up from the harbour to the village

As I often do on the occasion of a new dictionary or other reference book, I thought I’d look up a few words that I know will not be in there and see what the words either side of it would have been, just for fun and perhaps for a bit of light education. So, let’s start with Symi – a word that’s clearly not going to be in a dictionary of Kentish words and expressions.

Before it would come, Swot – another word for soot, and after it would be the first of the T section, Taant, out of proportion, very tall, usually used on ships about the mast. Now lets’ try Collins, all rather prosaic I’m afraid: Before there is Collarmaker, a saddler who works for farmers making horse collars and after it comes, Comb, an instrument used by a thatcher.

Looking at Gosling we have Goody, contracted from Goodwife, the title of an elderly widow, and after would be Go-to, to set, as in ‘The sun goes-to’ when it sets. Jack, the Alarm Cat gets Ivy Girl which rather unhelpfully has the entry: ‘See Holly Boy’, and after a couple Jack In The Box and Jack Up, gets Jaul, to throw the earth about and get the grain out of the ground. At last we have a word that I can relate to, especially when clearing up his litter tray at six in the morning where he has jaulled the litter all over the porch.

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In Yialos

This kind of nonsense may appear in the new Symi book next year as, apart from Symi stories, there will be other articles of interest (to me at least). And on that note, I will leave you to enjoy your In/Out status, whatever the result will be – I am writing this yesterday so the voting is going on as I write.

And if you were wondering about Holly Boy, it relates to a Shrove Tuesday antic where girls would burn a Holly Boy, a figure of a boy made out of holly, and the boys would, somewhere else in the village, burn an Ivy Girl, a figure made out of Ivy. Both ceremonies were, apparently, accompanied by huzzas. Strange folk, us Kentish.

Check out Symi 85600 and it’s (mainly) five-star reviews here.

 

 

Takis Leather Fashion, Symi

Takis Leather Fashion, Symi
It would be interesting, wouldn’t it, if I said here: if you are British and you vote/voted to leave the EU, please don’t come back to my blog. I could look at the stats and see if the number of hits went down. But I can’t imagine that any of my readers, who clearly love reading about Symi, Greece and the Alarm Cat, among other things, would actually be so short-sighted as to vote to leave, so it would be a wasted exercise. Instead, I want to show you some photos of the Takis Leather Shop in Yialos, Symi, as that’s a much more pleasant subject.

Symi Greece Symi Dream

Bags, coats, wallets, shoes…. at Takis Leather Fashion

I worked for Takis for a season back in 2003 and we’ve been friends ever since. He was very good to me, as his brother Nikos was very good to Neil who worked for him.

From www.takisleatherfashion.com/

From www.takisleatherfashion.com/

He’s the kind of guy you can rely on; he’s always said that if I needed a job he would find me one. It was a good season, a bit of hard work never hurt anyone, in fact it did me good and I lost around three stone simply by walking from Triada to Yialos every day, spending nine hours on my feet running around and serving people and walking back up to 500 + steps to home of an evening for two hours in the courtyard with a salad before crashing out. Seven days a week for seven months. I could do with the same exercise now as that three stone has gone back on with a vengeance, as it does.

Symi Greece Symi Dream

Friendlily and helpful staff

But back to the shop. It’s expanded over the years, Takis now has several staff working for him, all multi-lingual as far as I can hear. He has a large indoor store and a large forecourt selling his designer leather bags, sandals, shoes, and other leather goods, many of which (if not all) are designed by him. He’s always there for you for a chat and guided tour and you can even see his studio where he creates the most amazing art on leather, hides, bags and so on.

Symi Greece Symi Dream

A huge choice of sandals

The shop is on the north side of the harbour, the clock tower side if you like, and all and any of the staff will be happy to serve you. I reckon that if you say you are a Symi Dream reader (a Symi Dreamer) you might even get a discount, but don’t tell him I said that, just mention Symi Dream and see what happens – it certainly won’t be a bad thing. So, arrive at Symi, get off the boat at the clock tower and walk along about, what? 100 yards, and there you will see the amazing emporium of leather fashion, goods and art that is Takis Leather. (And he is not even paying me to write this. He doesn’t know I am writing this!) Have a look around. The guys and gals who work there are always helpful and up for a chat, but there’s no pressure to buy anything, and he has excellent air conditioning, I remember spending a few minutes a day trying to dry off under that as we worked through a summer that saw temperatures up in the high 40s or above. I often had to take a change of costume with me, or nip to Neil’s T-shirt shop after setting up to get a new and dry shirt to wear. Ah those were the days!

Symi Greece Symi Dream

You can ride there in the carriage

But today is THE day and I shall refer you to the top paragraph. But before you go and vote and put a cross in the Remain-In box (if you haven’t done so already – we did our postal vote about three weeks ago), you really should go and have a look at Takis Leather Fashion website, as the pics there are much better than the few I snapped yesterday when down in the harbour. Mine were taken before the day boats arrived. The website shows you his amazing pixel art – pointillism for leather I guess – and also inside the shop and some close-ups of the goods on sale. Here’s the link; go take a look, then go vote Remain. X

Takis Leather Fashion, Symi

Stonewall, hot cat and a big moon

Stonewall, hot cat and a big moon
Some homely photos today; the cat finding the coolest place to sleep under ‘His Master’s Voice’, some people being pulled around the bay on a raft for fun, and the full solstice moon – a white round thing seen through the courtyard vine.

Symi Greece Symi Dream

Enjoying a donut ride

And as you are browsing them… We watched the film ‘Stonewall’ the other night. This is the film about the Stonewall riots in New York that started on the night Judy Garland was buried, in June 1968, and brought about the start of the Gay Libation Front – rather, it actionized what was already starting to exist. It’s actually a very good film about a young guy moving to New York to escape his homophobic father and society and it’s quite moving. The actual Stonewall scenes and the riot are not the main focus, though they are of course what the ‘outer story’ is about. It’s a great film and I thought I would mention it here in case you want a historically (not 100%) accurate film that’s also a friendship story. Oh and Jonathon Rhys Meyers is in it, and very good too, and appears in his 1960’s underwear, if you’re that kind of fan.

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Keeping cool

At the moment I can only find it in USA format (region 1) so you will need a multi-region DVD player if you are going to buy it; but you can buy the Region 1 version here if you can play region 1 DVDs.

I am now waiting for My Big Fat Greek Wedding – 2, to come out. You can click that link and pre-order it if you want to.

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Solstice moon from Horio

Anyway, back to my days of doing nothing on Symi, nothing apart from working and watching the view that is. Have I been for a swim yet? No. Did I go swimming last year at all? No. I did go for a paddle with Harry back in March though, that was enough for me. But the beaches are now all open, the taxi boats are going every day, the tavernas are all open, the round the island and other boat trips are happening with the Poseidon and the Diagoras both in action – I think the Diagoras went to Turkey at the weekend as I saw it at the chicken shed (immigration/customs pre-fab) early in the morning. There are yachts in and people about, and with the weather still being warm and more than acceptable I think we can finally say that summer has arrived.

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Mist between Nimos and Symi, Tuesday morning

Bit of a ramble, no ideas

Bit of a ramble, no ideas
I was going to start with a rant because someone paid me a lovely complement yesterday and said how much they enjoyed my rants about the current rubbish-referendum. I thought I’d finish with that instead, as Symi is far more interesting. Not that I’ve done much since last we spoke, a little light writing, some house pottering, cooking (in this heat?!) and television viewing, and a little reading but not much; not as much as I would like to be doing, have done, done, or have been having done, or whatever the tense is. It just seems that there is always something else to do.

Symi Greece Symi Dream

Bonjour!

Like buying sandals, though actually that was Neil, not me. I’ve got two pairs, one has lasted me two years and I’ll be damned if they don’t last me another fifteen, and the second is there as backup as the first probably won’t last out this season. We were ‘down town’ on Saturday and he called into Americano, a shop in the backstreet of Yialos, between St John’s Church and Meraklis. There are lots of great things in there and lots of bright colours and it’s mainly aimed at women, I guess, or very flamboyant men. Neil was after a pair of the red rope sandals which are very comfortable to wear, but sadly the red wasn’t available in his size. The bright pink was, but he opted for a more sedate orange in the end.

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Americano

I only mention that so I have an excuse to use some of the photos he took, and to give another business a mild plug. I do this from time to time, there’s no payment involved and no salesman called; but if I’m at a place and like it, and – more importantly- remember about it the next day, then I like to put up a plug, as it were. That’s on Symi, I have written about other places when I’ve been away but I tend to write reviews on Trip Advisor about them as they are more relevant, I mean, this isn’t called Bucharest Dream now, is it? Though I enjoyed the King’s art collection when there and visiting The National Museum Of Art Of Romania.

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Comfy rope sandals

As you can see, today is a bit of a ramble brought on by the heat and so, here, with no apologies (only the usual one for typos) is my last vague word on the subject of the ridiculous you-know-what that’s done more to destroy the reputation of the UK than even daytime TV. (You don’t have to read it and you certainly don’t have to comment on it.)

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Just be fabulous!

This is the week that will be remembered in British history as the week that finally saw the start of the end of the decline of the country. The country will never be one again, never the same again, no matter what the vote outcome. The simple fact is that in calling for this referendum, the government has split the country and rifts have opened, the far right loonies have had something they can scare some of the population into believing, the – ahem – ‘popular’ – ahem – “newspapers” are having their day, MPs are whipping up racial hatred, inciting violence and getting away with it, complete loons are spouting this and that without having anything to back up their propaganda and no-one knows who to believe or what’s going to happen if, when or whatever. Apart from those with no brains allowing themselves to be manipulated by certain – ahem – “newspapers” and bonkers politicians, the even sadder fact is that many people are misguidedly voting on one topic alone; immigration. I saw a great quote the other day which sums this point up for me: ‘Not every Leave voter is a racist, but every racist will vote Leave.’ That’s what the country has allowed by calling the damn thing – a decision which the government were elected to make and should have made among themselves. The population put them there after all. But enough of all this ‘Outraged of Tunbridge Wells.’ Vote remain. Back to work…