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

Putting it together

Putting it together
I collected two deliveries on Friday, a new keyboard for the computer and a new kneel-on chair for the desk. Things did not go according to plan.

First of all, I ordered the keyboard from Germany as Amazon could not deliver one from the UK, and I was unable to find the one I wanted in Greece. I was rather proud of myself, wading through Amazon in German and securing my purchase, and saving myself a few Euros at the same time. I unpacked the keyboard on Saturday and set it up, only to realise that it is a German keyboard, of course. It works perfectly and is smooth and wonderful; no more clicking keys and sticking letters, but unfortunately… Well, let’s say it’s fortunate that I know where the letters and symbols are on an English layout keyboard. It’s not QWERTY anymore, it reads QWERTZ, as the Z and the Y are in each other’s places. There are also strange commands such as Einfg, and Entf, plus my favourite, Druken. I’ve still not pressed that one, I’m a bit worried as to what it might do. Hey ho! If I can’t get on with it I’ll have to search again, but so far so good and my fingers seem to know that Y is Z and the extra O (the one with the umlaut) is actually the ; and the symbol that shows ; is actually the comma. The ( is actually the key that shows ) and the key that shows ( is actually the * , the one that shows / is the &, and the & is the ^, and so on.

Putting it together

Left in charge of the pet shop for a few minutes.

Putting that aside to see how it’s going to work out, or not, I turned to the kneel-on chair. Flat pack is no problem, and it all looks very straightforward until I come to put the thing together. The instructions are written in numerical code, which doesn’t help, but they show images of each piece, and there are many pieces, and they are numbered “Φ8x40mm A*2″ and ” Φ6x135mm F*2″ and so on. Some of the bolts are drawn on the first image with some nuts on the end, and I search out my D*4 – only 2 needed for this part – that go through the foot of the thing and into a leg which is part Q*1, which I have found, and this part (D*2) also has a nut on the other end and goes through a hole in Q*1 to join foot (M*1). What it doesn’t show you is that the main nut is meant to be inside the wood of the leg and there’s nothing to explain how it gets there.

Putting it together

Passing the time with your best friend in Yialos

Common sense prevails, and I realise, after half an hour of pondering and trying this and seeing if that will do that and scratching my head, that you’re meant to put nut number … Oh, that nut doesn’t have a number, so you have to put the guesswork nut through a second hole and line it’s fitting up with the hole in the wood before you put D*2 through and then try and get D*2 into the bore hole of the piece with no name and use the allen key (G*1) to tighten it. I finally manage to get that done, turn the chair around, find all pieces needed to attach bit with seat to bit with back leg and then wonder what on earth is a J*1. I find it (hiding in the box) and it doesn’t fit. Check instructions, but no help there. Finally work out that piece J*1 is extendable and so manage to join seat-bit to back leg-bit and put those two together giving me a very collapsible X shape of two main pieces and a leg.

Putting it together

Little Own – photo by Lyndon

And now to put the back foot on the back leg using the same process and the front one. I know what I am doing now and slip the piece with no name through the hole with no instructions and line it up, using the screwdriver (L*1) before putting the long bolt through the foot and into the cross-piece and turning it with the key. No good. I take it all apart again and check that the bolt fits the unnamed piece, and it does, perfectly, so I put it back together again and lo and behold, it won’t go into the unknown piece once that piece is inside the unchartered hole for such a piece. Maybe it’s not lined up – I find the torch and examine the depths of the hole, glasses off so I can see better, and yes, that’s fine, but still it won’t go in and now the bolt doesn’t want to come out again, I fetch the plyers and adjustable spanner because the spanner supplied (H*1) doesn’t seem to fit any part of anything. Midday comes, and I decide to go to a barbeque instead.

Putting it together

Just back from fishing

It’s Sunday now, and the thing is still waiting there for the second phase, which is basically trying the whole thing again but with Neil on hand to hold the D*2 while I swear at unnamed piece while wrestling with the collapsible N*1 and E*1 which are successfully joined together and I still have no idea where I left my glasses. It was that kind of a day, and that’s enough of that. Back tomorrow, when I may be sitting on my, new chair. Or is that kneeling on…? Probably I’ll be jumping up and down on…

Saturday Symi photos

Saturday Symi photos
As it’s Saturday, today we have a set of Symi Saturday photos for you, a custom I have started recently because I’ve usually run out of things to say by the weekend. I am off to Yialos today (Friday) though, and will take the camera. There is shopping to be done before a possible quick lunchtime beer with a birthday girl, an afternoon to get over that and then an evening at the taverna tonight. It’s just like the summer again. It’s as sunny, but a lot, lot colder. So, have a good weekend and have a glance at the images. The only other thing to tell you is that ‘The Saddling’ is coming along faster than I expected with its checking and setting out so it may be available before the end of April, my original estimated date. Watch this space. Now watch these photos.

Saturday Symi photos

On the prowl

Saturday Symi photos

Upper Horio

Saturday Symi photos

A boat coming into land?

Saturday Symi photos

A bare fig tree. The leaves will soon be back.

Saturday Symi photos

Candles in church.

Saturday Symi photos

Spring light, in church.

Saturday Symi photos

A view from mid-Horio.

Saturday Symi photos

The mountainside from a distance.

To-do list

To-do list
We took a walk down to Pedi on Wednesday afternoon, and I was going to take some photos, but we were running late, and I didn’t want to stop in the cold for snaps. So, I have promised myself that I will go out and about with the camera next week, weather permitting, and so, please bear with me and the photos, which are not so recent.

To-do list

Quiet village ‘main street’

Yesterday, when I woke up at six, I was straight into my woollen socks, thermals (top and bottom) thick jogging ‘pants’ that have never been used for jogging, of course, two sweatshirts and a fleece, plus fingerless gloves and a hat Mother made me for Christmas. I’m not saying that it feels cold in a Symi house first thing in the morning but… It feels cold in a Symi house first thing in the morning, in February. It’s clear outside, and the wind has died down, which helps, but it’s still a bit of a rush to get dressed. Showers wait until later in the day when I’ve warmed up a bit.

To-do list

The lemons are ready

Sitting at my desk with the shutters shut gives me no view of anything apart from the cat by the heater and all the mess in the office I really must tidy away one day. There’s my concertina (which needs repair) on the sofa with a book about Barbara Streisand I’ve yet to start, several notebooks each with a few pages used and lots of white space, some presents to wrap and some camera equipment to put away. Over there by the door on another table are the new keyboard that didn’t work properly (four clicks to get the mouse to work? I don’t think so) and the old office chair that did my back in. That needs to go to the scrap heap as soon as I can get it there. Next door, Neil is putting away the shopping he just went foraging for at Sotiris’ supermarket (though Sotiris is in Athens at the moment having medical work done on his arm) and very shortly I need to go and do some housework ahead of visitors arriving for dinner later.

To-do list

The Trata is not open, but the menu stays all year round

So, it’s all a bit chilly, but there is a lot to do. Symi is still quiet though there’s building work going on up the lane, as there always is at this time of year when the weather is good. There’s a mule parked up in the grass nearby, and that keeps going off with a protest, and there is a distant chug from a fishing boat I can hear but not see. My list of jobs to do (when I get around to them) is growing by the day too. Take away the old vine cuttings, tidy the courtyard, cut down the fig tree opposite (it’s on common land so that should be okay), and get around to fixing the leaks on the kitchen tap, and showers.

Ah well, maybe after lunch…

To-do list

Someone is speed-boating off on holiday early. Or just moving their boat about a bit.