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

Sunday Morning

Sunday Morning

Here’s a Sunday morning roundup for you. We had a fair old strong wind at the end of last week which delayed the boat from Athens for about 16 hours, meaning some people had to change flights and make alternative travel arrangements. The weather’s calm again now (not that I can see it with all the shutters closed) but it looks like we’re in for more wind and rain this week. The rain will be good for topping up the sterna. On which note…

Saturday in Yialos. A much calmer, sunnier day than most of late.

Saturday in Yialos. A much calmer, sunnier day than most of late.

The story has moved forward a couple of paces and back one. I called on our landlord on Friday to explain the problem we’re having. Andreas speaks less English than I do Greek but he speaks more local dialect than I do, of course, and has a strong accent which can make it hard for me to grasp everything he says. The other way around, I speak Greek with a horrible accent, and he is a little deaf, but together, we managed to shout and signal back and forth what we think the problem is. Roots or a crack in the sterna, allowing the water to escape somewhere into the ground until the level falls below that of the problem and we’re left with some water, but very little – and I don’t want to drain the tank dry and risk messing up the pump that’s down there. So…

December 8 2

It was arranged that he would call a mastoras (μάστορας), translated as a skilled worker, or more locally as a ‘master’ as in master builder, or by some as simply an odd job man. Whatever, it was a step forward, so I left it with him. He called over to us (he lives opposite) later in the day to let me now the plan. The mastoras would come at three the next day and take a look. He will have to open up the wall above the sterna and drop a ladder down, go down and assess the situation. Not a job I’d like to do, descending into a wet and slimy, cold hole, but it’s what must be done. The mastoras would be coming at three/three-thirty, Saturday. Andreas also checked that we had water, and I told him we had a limited supply. He then said that if we run out, we should let him know as he has a tank he can put on the roof and ‘wire up’ so we can fill that from the mains and have some water while we are otherwise without, which I thought was a very decent thing to offer. The thing is…

Off to collect a delivery from the book shop, one of the courier agents on Symi

Off to collect a delivery from the book shop, one of the courier agents on Symi

He was the head teacher of the technical college, so I am told and taught many of the men and youths who now work in building, plumbing, etc. In fact, he is known locally as ‘Daskalos’ (teacher). An interesting word as it can also mean ‘pedant’ so it could apply just as well to me. The story took a mild but not unexpected twist on Saturday afternoon when the only people to ring our bell were Harry come to collect his bags for a sleepover at a friend’s house, and Asif come to deliver several packs of water. No sign of the mastoras as yet, but it’s meant to rain later, and Monday is fill-up day anyway. Meanwhile, we’re using a friend’s washing machine down the road, and I have an excuse not to have to suffer a shower in the cold bathroom – not until completely necessary. I’ll let you know how it goes as it goes, hopefully, it will have gone in a week or so – it can take a long time to fix things like this so stay tuned.

Symi Photos and SeaSmiles

Symi Photos and SeaSmiles

As it’s Saturday, we mainly have photos on a Saturday, though these ones are a bit out of date and a mix. But, before then, a quick thank you to Sea Smiles (seasmiles: https://www.seasmiles.com/en/login-en.html ). This is the loyalty card you can get for your trips with Blue Star (and associated lines). I first registered for a card years ago one morning crossing to Rhodes on the Diagoras. I was given a flimsy plastic card with the number written on it, and have been using that for years. Recently, I thought I would pop into the website and see what points I had accrued, only to find myself unable to log in. The page that came up had a card number (the username) already entered with a remembered password, so I must have used it before. However, when I tried to access the members’ area, I couldn’t. I reset the password, but to no avail, then checked the number on my card to find it different to the number online. Confused, I wrote to SeaSmiles by email…

Morning view

Morning view

I explained the problem, that I was unable to get in and was now confused about which card number was mine. They wrote back the same day saying that my card had not been used for two years so was now invalid and the points accrued were lost. I replied, explaining that I had used my card several times this year and received discounts, so something was working…

Afternoon birthday party

Afternoon birthday party

I had three emails the next morning. One informed me they had found two accounts for me; one active, one not. The next was to send me login information for the online account system, plus a new password. The third was a note and a PDF of my new card. All I have to do is print it and keep it safe. What’s more, all points that were floating around between my number and nowhere are now found and have been credited to the new card (which may be an old one, but… whatever). So, within 24 hours, it’s all sorted, I have my points back, a new card and I can get into the system. Bravo!

Eveinig at the Rainbow

Eveinig at the Rainbow

Now then, let’s not talk about EasyJet. Okay, then, let’s. Remember I suffered a cancelled flight last July? Ended up an extra night in Rhodes, missed my Hilton Hotel booking (not as grand as it sounds but still £80.00), missed my pre-paid train tickets, a night in Brighton, had to spend a night in the knocking shop that was, that night, the Hermes Hotel – unmade, still-warm bed, wet towels, the scent of rubber still hanging in the air, etc.) and pay around €50.00 in taxis for the pleasure. Well… I did two claims via those ‘Have you been delayed?’ websites, both of which had good reviews. Neither of which was able to help. I went through the EasyJet system myself in the end and put in a claim for the cancelled flight and also one for expenses. Was told I was unable to claim on that flight as the cancellation had been caused by weather problems; it hadn’t, not really, it was because they didn’t have an alternative crew in Rhodes, but that’s another story. I replied, slightly ‘outraged of Surrey’ style, and heard nothing, of course. But, one day sometime later, I was nosing around in my bank account searching for a few pennies when I noticed a £50.00 credit from EasyJet (no email or anything, I was just slipped a silent fifty to keep quiet). Well, thank you very much. That went some way to replacing the lost £200 their incompetence had cost me.

Athens

Athens

Anyway, didn’t mean to ramble and now, here are a few more photos as it’s Saturday.

Proper barbering in Athens

Proper barbering in Athens

Guitar shop, Athens

Guitar shop, Athens

Queuing to get into Piraeus

Queuing to get into Piraeus

Blue Star at night

Blue Star at night

Our usually regular boat

Our usually regular boat

Winter weather

Winter weather

I’ve got a little list

I’ve got a little list

A couple of photos taken in the harbour on Wednesday. It was a strangely misty day whereas Thursday was windy, and as the wind was from the north-west, it was also cold. Neil is off to Rhodes today to sort out a phone contract and visit Jumbo for all those tatty things you didn’t realise you couldn’t live without until you saw then for sale for €1.59, so I am looking forward to seeing what he comes back with.

December 5th 1

I am into something of a disrupted writing season for the next four weeks, what with Christmas and some other things that take up my writing time. We have a list of bits and pieces to do and sort out: Phone contract, Neil’s new residency permit under his Irish passport (just in case), changing my driving license to a Greek one after 16 years (in case I ever feel like driving again), the sterna which looks like it will be an ongoing saga and one you can follow to discover what does actually happen when you live on the island, I still want to organise a new piano, maybe after the Christmas delivery madness has died down, I need a new computer desk as the one I have been using these past twenty or so novels is the wrong height and the old piano stool I sit on is knackered and it’s about time I acted on what would be a very dodgy workplace risk assessment, and… Well, the list goes on.

December 5th 2

But the photos don’t. I’ve only got the two today, but they might give you an idea of how Yialos looks in the winter.

And on a sunnier day in November

And on a sunnier day in November