Symi Dream

Living on a Greek island

Symi Dream - Living on a Greek island

That Time of Year Again

I’m slightly out of sorts today and have been since yesterday morning. There I was, quite happily wandering the kitchen while Neil was making a cup of tea, when out of the corner of my eye, I noticed this in the sink:

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(Apologies for the state of the washing up, we were trying to soak the last of the welded-on cheesecake base from the tin.)

Unfunnily enough, only the day before we had been watching The Amazing Race (Australia), a reality game show where the contestants travel around facing challenges and being eliminated one by one, not fatally, only in terms of the game. While the teams were in Malaysia, the classic TAR challenge popped up, and they had to eat fried bugs and tarantulas. I looked away whenever the dead spiders came into view, and Neil looked away every time one of the contestants threw up. I can’t tell you how much we enjoy the show!

We’ve had a spider invasion before, and I knew we were due for one, I felt it in my water, as they say. I’d noticed a standard-sized house spider in the courtyard the other day, and another in the house, but they no longer bother me. It’s the ones that tap-dance their way towards you when you’re watching TV in the dark that get me. Actually, we’ve had only three or four visits in the last nine years, so that’s not too bad. The first time we were watching TV at night with the uplighter on, and I noticed a movement high up on the wall. It was one like we met yesterday, only lit from beneath, so its shadow stretched across the wall like something from a 1950s horror movie poster. Needless to say, I was more than a little:

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Another time, one scampered under my feet (again in semi-darkness), and Neil leapt into action to take it outside. A few minutes later, convinced they hunt in pairs, I heard the cat coming down the passage and thought he needed to file his claws. Then I realised he’d died a couple of years before, and hunted around, and sure enough, there was another you-know-what right by where I’d been sitting. Don’t worry, all you vegan spider-rights activist, Neil takes them by the hands and leads them to a better place, usually the dustbins up the road. If I am alone? Well, then it’s a case of DDT or a large dictionary, I’m afraid. Sadly, even on seeing one my blood pressure rises to dizzying heights, quite literally, and I cannot settle nor sleep properly for several days.

So, as much as we love The Amazing Race, there is no way I am ever going on it. I don’t need to when we have such challenges at home every spring and autumn.

Rock Around the Weekend

I now have four ‘reels’ up on the Symi Dream Facebook page, if you use the platform and want a few 30-second snatches of Symi views. The latest one was taken on Saturday from the top of the village. It was a glorious day, as you will see. The only problem is trying not to capture the sound of my breathing. I’m more than capable of walking up through the village to the very top, then out onto the road and on and up without stopping or getting out of breath, but when I do pause to shoot a short video or take a picture, I am breathing hard, and it’s not that easy to hold your breath for 30 seconds after such a climb. So, you will have to excuse any heavy breathing, feet crunching on gravel, or the wind (not mine) as it blows past the phone I am holding.

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After that stroll up to the quarry and back, I spent the rest of the day being pampered. Our godson came to cook dinner for everyone and has lessons from Niel in several kitchen activities, such as how to make a batter mix and Yorkshire puddings, how to make stuffing and stuff a chicken, and how (not) to make a cheesecake. It tasted sublime but didn’t set. While they were doing all that, I did an hour’s piano practice to set a good example to my pupil and entertained the other godson and their mum when they arrived. After that, all hell let itself loose in the kitchen with a wonderful feast, and after, some classic British comedy sketches from YouTube. I think the boys were a bit worried we might make them watch Monty Python again. The last time they gallantly sat through ‘The Meaning of Life’, which they described the film as ‘Disturbing,’ lol. (I think they secretly enjoyed most of it.)

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Another generation-or-two-gap thing… We have a gramophone Neil bought from the antique shop in Yialos some years ago. It was made in Italy in 1920, discovered in a Symi house many years later, and ended up being for sale. Some good friends have brought over 78s in the past, so we have something to play, and we played it for Harry who, being only 16 has never seen a record player, not even a modern one. So, having explained what records were, we wound the thing up, put on a random 78, and away you go. The record was Rock Around the Clock, so not our oldest recording, but enough of one to have Neil and Harry dancing. Then came the questions about how it works, how the sound gets onto the disc, what the disc is made of, and all that tricky stuff that makes you wish you hadn’t had the idea in the first place. We looked it all up. The most gobsmacking thing of course was that there were no leads, no electricity needed, and you could listen to music without having to have an internet connection. What will they think of next?

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Just to finish: We popped out for a drink on Sunday night, and while at the bar, exchanged weekend news with our companions. We were talking about Yorkshire puddings when Irini asked, ‘Why are they called puddings?’ That’s something else I was unable to answer and now, I will have to go and find out.

A Varied and Pleasant Week

For me, it’s the end of a varied and pleasant week, not that I really ‘do’ weekends anymore. We’ve had visitors coming to the island, the boats are starting to appear more frequently, and many businesses in the harbour are up and running already. The weather has been warm, though the air was a little more chilly yesterday, the sea has been calm, and the flowers have been blooming. There are now poppies in the meadow in front of the house. I say ‘meadow’, it’s actually a piece of wasteland that looks after itself. It’s currently covered in long grass and various wildflowers, all of which will be gone as soon as someone grazes their sheep or mule on it, which usually happens in the runup to Easter.

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Not the wasteland

I’ve managed to get out and about for a few walks, but not as many as I would like, and we’ve been social, meeting friends to play cards, or just to sit and chat. My piano pupil passed his grade two music theory exam yesterday gaining just over 82%, which, in this case, meant only getting one question wrong, so I was very happy with that. As part of the ongoing music tuition, we’re starting to look at songwriting, so yesterday also saw me playing the role of English teacher and giving a crash course on poetry and lyrics. I realised, a while ago, that I still have my Albatross Book of Verse from when I was at school, oops, maybe I should have given it back, but it came in very handy. After the music session, we set to our model building, and his Yamaha is nearly completed, while I have embarked on my book-nook. Talk about fiddly!

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Neil’s been heading back to the gym, cautiously since his recent attack of vertigo, and he’s also been gardening, not that we have a garden. We have a courtyard, like most, but you don’t really go courtyarding… or maybe you do. The weeding is done, some replanting has taken place and the whole yard has recently been decorated.

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Plans for the weekend? Neil and Harry are making us all a roast dinner on Saturday – the older godson has now finished his chef’s training, so we thought it was about time the younger one had some life lessons in the kitchen. I intend to plough on with chapter six of the new book, take another couple of walks, and practice some of my new sonatas (I’ve found a Schubert one I might be able to cope with).

So, that was that and this is this, and off we go into another week’s end. Have a good one.

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Keeping it Green

I’ve noticed there’s been an interest in the greenery of late. Many visitors arrive here in the summer or later in the year when the island has been sitting under the sun for several months. By then, the green has given way to the heat of summer, and everything looks a bit barren. Unless you come in the spring, that’s how you remember the island, so today, in response to a few enquiries via our Facebook page, I thought I’d throw up some pictures taken over the last couple of weeks, both by myself and by Neil. Not everywhere on the island is as green and fertile as this, but spring plants are up and about everywhere. Some places, like the valley and down at Marathunda, are lusher because that’s the way the land lies, while elsewhere, the hills are greenish with herbs and shrubs. So, while I plough on with chapter six of the next story, enjoy some plant life which you may not see by the time you get here in June, or whenever.

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Reeling it in

I can’t remember when it started, but I think it was between Christmas and New Year. I was wasting a morning browsing Facebook when I took a look at a ‘reel’ not knowing exactly what they were. Turns out, they are short videos, and they can be fun. They can also be stupid, nasty, pointless, daft, you name it. It’s part of today’s culture of showing off nonsense while making money, I guess, like all these other programmes and platforms that are fine for other people but don’t bother me. Like them, I guess it’s a case of each to his own and all that.

(Meanwhile, in the valley...)

(Meanwhile, in the valley…)

You can find all kinds of oddments on these things, and my morning viewing (which I’ve got down to the time it takes to drink a mug of tea) includes some things I’d not asked for because you don’t ask, they just appear, and usually they are things that have nothing to do with what I like, view or buy. Example: I regularly see a group of young men in India (I think), who pose as statues while covered in mud. That’s actually quite poignant at times and artistic. There’s a whole barrage of silly cats, dangerous drivers, and people losing their mobile phones, and I notice a current trend for young men to waggle their equipment through their shorts and joggers. Whether what they are sporting is real or not is up for debate, as is whether I want to see that with my morning PG Tips, but one can always scroll on by to the tours around exotic locations, beautiful cities, and AI-generated ridiculousness.

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So, having entertained myself with his kind of thing for long enough, I thought I would start adding reels to the Symi Dream Facebook page, and yesterday I uploaded my first short video to the ‘reels’ section. You will be pleased to know it’s not me covered in mud (we’ve had no rain since early March), it’s not me falling off a skateboard, doing gymnastics, being attacked by a cat/dog/snake/random seagull, and nor is there any waggling. It’s simply a view from the balcony early in the morning accompanied by natural sounds. I’ll add more over time, meanwhile, you can view it by clicking over to: the reels section of the Symi Dream Facebook page.