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

Early morning thoughts

Early morning thoughts

(With moody sky photos from this year.) Yesterday, after an effective campaign from our mayor, the Hellenic navy brought a boat to take a large number of refugees from the island. Some of these people, I am told, had been waiting here for several weeks, and from video footage I’ve seen, were very happy to be moving on. I only hope they find safety and success, though I fear it will be a long time before they find an end to their travels and tribulation. I did see some comments on antisocial media along the lines of, ‘Notice how they all have mobile phones and money’, said is a derisory manner. To which I would reply, of course. I mean, when you can’t carry your furniture, possessions and livelihood with you in a plastic bag or a rucksack, what are the things that you need to survive? Money and communication. How do you find out what’s going on with those you’ve left behind, those who are relying on you to succeed and save them, without money or a phone? Mobiles are not that costly, they are totally portable, and these days they hold your life. Treasured photos, bank account access, verbal communication, world news, GPS, a way of calling for help… Of course you’re going to take a mobile phone with you, at any cost. I would.

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Which brings me onto another subject that appears to be heading our way at any cost, the dreaded B-word. I bring this up now as I am preparing myself to read a ‘newspaper’ that someone left behind for me, ‘The Brexiteer.’ This was left for me in typical Brexshitter fashion, i.e. by passing it to someone to bass to me once the donator was off the island. I assume he didn’t want to risk an intellectual discussion about our opposing views, or a sensible debate. Or maybe he just wasn’t able to bring it 30 yards around the corner and hand it to Neil or me, knowing where we usually are at certain times of the day. Whatever, I assume it’s been left for me in the hopeful manner of a Jehovah’s Witness (no offence) leaving a copy of the Watchtower in my letterbox in the deluded assumption that one read and it will change my life forever. Who knows? It’s here, and I intend to at least try and see what’s in it. You can expect some comment soon. I just have to prepare myself a little like one does when about to have a tooth extraction without anaesthetic, or take a teenager to a rap concert. As they would say in Saddling, I will approach the task ‘like a ram going to its wethering.’

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Which brings me on to the next topic of the day, The Saddling series and book four, the final instalment of what started out as a solo mystery and has ended up as a popular four-parter. Well, three so far, but four is now plotted, very roughly, and after posting this, I am getting straight back to it. After a break of several months, when I have been writing the Clearwater, Victorian mystery series, ‘The Needling’ has been on my mind but refusing to leave it. Yesterday, I went for a walk up to the monastery, as you saw from the photos, came home, sat at the computer and hammered out some ideas. I now have 4,000 words of plot and notes to go over again and improve, add to and edit before I can get started, and there are a few details from the earlier books I need to double-check first, but all being well, I shall start on chapter one in a day or so.

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And those are my thoughts this Tuesday morning. I am writing this yesterday, as is my way. I woke at three to rain and clouds lit by lightning over Turkey and perhaps Rhodes. I looked at the harbour and thought it was a good job those refugees were to be taken off before the rain came in. Let’s hope those remaining, and others who will inevitably come this way, find shelter.

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Routine and Owl

Routine and Owl

Settling back into the weekly winter routine now. Up early, get some work done, go for a walk (most days), up to the monastery and back, a cup of tea, do the blog for the next day, and then settle down to creating something with words. I’ve ‘finished’ the third draft of my next Clearwater mystery, and that’s going to be printed locally on A4 so I can read it through in print before making any final changes. I’ve started work with the cover designer and will contact the proofreader to put her on alert and book a slot. So, with that on its way (early November for publication I hope), I can turn my attention to something else. Meanwhile, here are a couple of shots from yesterday morning, just after sunrise.

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And below are some photos of a couple of chaps or chapesses who were busy around our house on Sunday morning. A little owl and a… not sure. Looked too yellow on the chest to be a sparrow, but I am sure someone will tell me what it is. It bobs his head and tail frequently and flits about keeping busy eating the bugs off the plants. The owl was chasing a thrush, who didn’t stay still long enough for me to get a decent shot, and I think they were arguing over territory. It’s not that unusual to see a little owl in the morning, this one was out and about for a while after dawn.

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Weekend chatter

Weekend chatter

Was that the last busy weekend of the season? I wonder. Only busy because there was a big birthday bash at the bar and in the taverna afterwards. Music, dancing, food and fun, with us being the first to leave as we’re lightweights when it comes to staying out late. ‘Meet for pre-dinner drinks at eight,’ usually receives the reply, ‘I’m normally thinking about going to bed at eight, but I’ll do my best.’ We had a great time, though, and so did everyone else, from what I can gather.

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I’ve also gathered that a new café is now open. It had its blessing on Sunday, and it’s on the way to the new landing stage, harbour, jetty, call it what you will. Where the Blue Star and other large ships pull in, on that stretch of road near the petrol station. I’m not sure of opening hours yet, so I can’t say if it will be open for the early morning Blue Star arrivals at 5.00, but no doubt time will tell.

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While at the desk, draft two of a new ‘Clearwater’ story is now complete, so I can tinker with it in my draft three. I still only have half a title, so can’t get the cover started yet, but hopefully, by the day’s end, I will have found the rest of the title and sent a message to my cover designer who will, as usual, come up with something fabulous. I also have more of an idea of what the fourth part to the Saddling series is going to be, so I may finally get around to starting that. I just need to finish this one and then set myself a timetable for drafting the next. It may be autumn and heading for winter, but there is still much to do.

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