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

Mumbo Jumbo

Mumbo Jumbo

I’m all shopped out now, an hour or so in Jumbo does that for you. It was a fun day if you don’t mind hideous music and the smell of plastic. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Jumbo in Rhodes (or anywhere, I expect), but it’s something of a culture shock after Symi. Maybe that should be a ‘lack of culture’ shock, I don’t know, but it’s certainly a useful if startling place to visit. The idea is to pop in for a couple of Christmas things, pick up some sensibles for the house and then pop out again. Er, yeah, well, it never quite works like that. You end up driving a trolley around an obstacle course starting with children’s toys and ending with a free for all in the confection department, and by then, your trolley is piled high with unmissable bargains and all kinds of things you didn’t know you needed until you saw them and realised you could no longer manage without.

December 6th_11

I’m not being entirely serious, of course, we found all manner of things we had on a list and more besides. I was very impressed with the aisle widths. At some moments, even when entering a chicane in household goods, there was enough space for the trolley to get through, albeit only an extra couple of milometers either side. I realised that someone had the job of measuring and checking the aisle width all the way around the thousands of square feet that make up the place to ensure there was — breath in — just enough room to squeeze through. I was also rather impressed with the car accessory department. I found myself wondering why I was attracted to the rubber footwell mats until I realised the smell of the material was making me high, and I had to move on because the display of windscreen sun shields was reflecting the Christmas lights and tripping me out.

Everyone's happy at Jumbo

Everyone’s happy at Jumbo

All this was accompanied by some of the worst Christmas music you could imagine, which also added to the fun. Among the chart-topping, heart-stopping, Japanese torture playing obtrusively from above, we had  Jumbo’s own ‘carols’, a wayward version of ‘Favourite Things’ sung in Greek with slightly altered melody to, I assume, avoid copyright infringement, and the song I titled “How many times can we get in rhymes, artistry forsaking for making the baking while taking the…” Whatever. It was one of the best displays I’ve heard of how not to write a song, or at least, if you do, how to write a song to show everyone else how not to overdo your internal rhymes for the sake of having them in there. They had even managed to find a series of rhymes for ‘happy’, one of which was ‘crappy’ and I couldn’t have agreed more. Still, it was a laugh, but I can’t help feeling so sorry for the people that have to work in it all day.

December 6th_14

Anyway, the bulk of the Christmas tat shopping done (along with some very useful things for the kitchen that I’d forgotten we didn’t own and wondered how we had lived so long without), and we took a taxi back to town to visit other shops. The taxi was driven by a sit-com character who has a Romanian stripper for a wife, another girl on the side and a dislike of certain islanders because he once visited and was ripped off for two plates of chips, a salad and some rubbery calamari. (€130.00, allegedly, and I’m not mentioning names.) Still, I learnt a few new swearwords and booked him back to pick us up later for the boat. But that’s another story.

Symi Books For Christmas?

Symi Books For Christmas?

As we are now approaching Christmas, I thought it was time for some blatant advertising. I know many loyal readers and Symi Dreamers have some or all of my Symi books already, but if you haven’t, or if you know someone who might like to know more about the island, how about a copy of Symi 85600 to get you started?

Symi 85600 book review

Symi 85600

This book is a collection of notes, emails and other thoughts from when we first moved to the island 17 years ago. This book is followed by Carry On Up The Kali Strata which is a collection of articles (with photos) I wrote for The Symi Visitor newspaper back in the day, plus a few other stories and anecdotes.

The third in chronological order is Village View, a collection of blog posts from 2013 that takes you through a whole year on the island.

The forth, a mix of Symi stories, more about how we came to be here and other travel tales from my past, is Symi, Stuff & Nonsense.


Symi Stuf & Nonsense _ebook - smallerAs well as those four factual books, you might like to delve into a novel, and my first was Jason and the Sargonauts. This is a comedy-mystery set on Symi a few years ago and also in the past. There’s a lot of fact in it, manly around the WWII sections, and the rest is based on the classic Argonauts tale, except my Argonauts are on a SARGO holiday for the over 60s. Then, if you want something darker and scarier, The Judas Inheritance is the novel on which the film The 13th was based. Again, there’s some Symi history in there – though the island of the story is not called Symi, and the rest is pure, horror fantasy.

And, while you are considering who on your gift list might like one or more of those, I shall get back to writing my other stories. If you head to my Amazon author page, you can find all my books listed, a mix of comedy/satire, thriller and a couple of horrors. There, that’s your shopping for the day all sorted, and all books are available in paperback from various Amazon outlets, though the links given here are for Amazon UK. If you want them for your own Kindle library, they are also on Kindle and in Kindle Unlimited if you want to put them on your to-read list. Meanwhile, here on Symi, it’s clear and cold and very crisp, and we’re putting plans in motion to have a day in Rhodes on Friday which is currently the easiest day for the boat as it’s a ‘late’ one, I mean, at 08.10 in the morning rather than 05.05 or 06.05 as it is on Monday and Wednesday.