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

My Monday Moan is free of the €700 import charge

My Monday Moan is free of the €700 import charge

Don’t read this if you are/were in favour of Brexit and don’t want to hear some home truths about the consequences. Things like believing the NHS would get millions per week, you’d be running through sunny uplands (whatever that’s meant to mean) and the lies about trade deals, oven-ready or otherwise. Luckily for all of us, Neil has supplied some beautiful photos of Symi to lighten my Monday morning mood, so you can always look at them and ignore the text.

January Neil_01

Today’s advice. Don’t order anything online and have it sent directly to me. Certainly not cheese, horse feed or football shirts, not that I need the latter two, and I can buy cheese here at the moment. I’d also be wary of sending anything from the yUK to Europe right now as couriers may refuse to deal with your parcel. If you’re thinking of sending a gift to friends abroad, then think again or tread carefully. The likelihood is, us over here will either have to pay a massive import tax to collect it, or we’ll have to refuse to take it, and it will be sent back and possibly burnt. Sadly, I am not making this up or scaremongering. That’s how it currently is with the yUK’s ‘oven-ready’ trade deal with the EU. Ironic really, as some exports are being burned and, thus, really are ready for the oven.

To back up my wildly outlandish statement: A small business that makes and exports cheese from Cheshire… has lost 20% of his sales overnight after discovering he needed to provide a £180 health certificate on retail orders to consumers in the EU, including those buying personal gift packs of his award-winning wax-wrapped cheese worth £25 or £30.

 To save his business, he will now have to switch a £1m investment he was planning to make in a new distribution centre in Macclesfield to the EU, with the loss of 20 jobs and tax revenue to the UK.

January Neil_02

Meanwhile, in another part of the newspaper: British businesses that export to the continent are being encouraged by government trade advisers to set up separate companies inside the EU in order to get around extra charges, paperwork and taxes resulting from Brexit. (My emphasis, simply because… Well, honestly! What a shambles.)

Oh, here’s another one and it’s to do with books: [A Berlin publisher] said that, as a result of new rules, regulations and costs resulting from Brexit, it had decided not to export any more books to the UK at all, not even ‘111 Reasons to Love England.’

January Neil_05

As you can gather from today’s post, I can find few reasons to love England right now, and by England, I mean the whole of the UK, though it seems those blithering about in Westminster sometimes forget that it is a united queendom.

Anyway, I’ve got that out of my system, and really, I just wanted to warn against posting things from the yUK to friends and family in the EU unless you check carefully what extra charges may be incurred (at either end). Brexit, eh? A gift that keeps on giving. Thank the stars for Neil’s photos.

January Neil_06

Cats, Goats and Weekend plans

Cats, Goats and Weekend plans

Let’s enter the weekend with some animal shots, shall we? I have no idea why. I was simply browsing through my folders and saw a few cute cats and characterful goats, and thought, why not?

Neil January 2021_27

While you’re doing whatever you’re doing over the weekend, I’ll be working away on my latest story. I am one chapter away from finishing the first draft. This one was born out of an idea that only took proper shape as I wrote my way through 90,000 words (with another 4,000 or more to go), so I will need to start again next week on draft two and do a lot more work. I almost have a title, and so I can start my designer working on a cover. I will also finish my Phantom model as best I can so I can clear the kitchen table for Neil’s baking. We’ve had a wonderfully endless round of cakes and biscuits, curries and other delicious things since Christmas, all made while he’s wearing his MasterChef apron (personalised, of course).

Neil January 2021_19

There may be some rare walking going on, from me, I mean. Neil’s been doing up to eight miles each day with Clare, and bravo them. He left yesterday bundled up in several layers looking like the Michelin Man and set off for Nimborio again. If you walk from the village, down the main road, follow it around the coast, reach the far side of Nimborio bay, and then come back on the same route, you will be covering eight miles, should you ever wish to know.

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Meanwhile, if you head up to Xissos and try to get up to St Nikitas church on the steeply sloping path that’s the middle of three roads (if you know the area, you will know where I mean), you can’t. Not this week at least as the road is being improved and resurfaced. This will make driving and walking to Ag Nikitas and that area easier. At least, I think that’s where Neil described his route, he wasn’t too sure where he’d gone that day, but it sounded like that was the right direction.

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Anyway, I’m off to write and create and keep warm, do the shopping, try and find a cover for a leaky wall-tap in the bathroom that’s there to feed a washing machine and seems to have deteriorated despite never being used. I tried the universal fix of gaffer tape, but that’s not worked, so I need to investigate some basic plumbing items, a bit of a first for me. And that will be my weekend. Whatever you’re doing, I hope you have a good one.

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Photos today

Photos today

Today, some photos showing the wintery side of Symi as photographed by Neil over the past week or so. As you can see, there is a variety. Crisp, clear days, rough seas, windy waves, quiet, pastoral moments and sunny shorelines. We have it all here.

Neil January 2021_15

Do you see the sleeping dragon with its snout in the water?

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