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

Fun And Games

Fun And Games

I was watching from the balcony the other morning, just seeing what was going on down below when I saw a man hovering several feet above the sea. One of the new attractions at Nos beach (Paradise Beach) is the… The… (Don’t know what it’s called) the ‘floating over the water via water pressure jet boots’ thing.

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The appearance of this new toy/sport/distraction has caused some ruffled feathers on social media along the lines of, ‘We don’t want our Symi to have things like this,’ and ‘No! Not on my favourite island,’ with a few ‘What a shame it’s getting like Rhodes,’ and other judgemental complaints. Well, for a start, ‘becoming’ would have been a better verb than ‘getting’, but that aside, I might be more inclined to listen to the complaints of the complainers where actually residents here and were trying to eke out their livings from a tourism industry which has been declining over the years due to world economic problems. ‘Our island.’ I ask you! I’ve been living here nearly sixteen years, and it’s never going to be ‘my’ island. Yes, I know some people are worried that…

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Sorry, I was interrupted by someone having fun. Some people see things like this in use and are worried that we’re suddenly going to have huge all-inclusive hotels on Symi, Club 18-Hell tourists, young people who might actually enjoy themselves, and something called modernisation, so let me put your fears to rest. We’re not. You can hire all kinds of sea-sports equipment from this beach, and a few pleasure boats from the Nireus, but that’s about it. You can still find your tranquil places at St George and Nanou, Maruthunda and elsewhere where the only thing you’ll have to complain about are goats nosing through your bags. Besides, from what I am told, no-one actually here is disturbed by this new attraction.

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Anyway, you get my message. I’ve no time for nimbies (not that I’ve heard of any actual Symi residents behaving as such), especially ones who claim island ownership because of their annual two-week holidays. Sorry if you’re one of them and that offends you; if it does, you’ll know how your comments make me feel. The bottom line in Greece right now is, everyone must make a living, and if you really supported the country, you’d support all endeavours and not moan about them from the safety of your computer.

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It also comes with dive control.

Maybe today’s mood comes from being awake at 4.00 a.m. An early night is always a good idea for someone who works best in the early hours, but whether I go to bed at nine as I did, or two in the morning (as I rarely do these days) I still wake up early. That’s what the last image is of; a quiet moment on the balcony without anyone having fun except for the mosquitos wanting breakfast, just as the sky was beginning to turn its pre-dawn orange.

Symi

Cyprus International Film Festival

Cyprus International Film Festival

I had a message yesterday from Rebecca Hall who was at the Cyprus International Film Festival to hear the reading of a scene from our screenplay, ‘Girl Gone Greek’, which is based on her novel of the same name. The message said (and it is yet to be confirmed) that the screenplay received a special mention at the awards ceremony, which is good news. As I’m talking about Cyprus, I thought I’d add some photos today from my trip there last year, so that’s what you’re getting today.

Symi Greece Symi Dream photos

On Symi, the weather is back to its more usual July behaviour, hot and a little bit sweaty with sunny days, a welcome breeze from time to time and calm seas. Mind you, some friends returning from Rhodes on Sunday were treated to a bumpy crossing. There must have been a swell going on as there were no white caps on the sea and it wasn’t a windy day. The music school held their concert last weekend, there are many talented musicians on Symi – of all ages. Guitar, piano and violin were all being played, and the cantor school also performed. That’s the school where young people are taught how to chant the liturgy in church.

Symi Greece Symi Dream photos

If you are ever at the folklore museum in Horio (and possibly in Panormitis too), you can see some very old copies of the chants. It’s a bit like reading plainsong and reminds me of the way I tried to sing psalms in the church choir a hundred years ago. I borrowed this image from an online search to give you an idea of what you’re faced with (in Orthodox manuscripts). It reminds me of learning Arabic, something else I wasn’t particularly good at.

Symi Greece Symi Dream photos

And back to Cyprus…

Symi Greece Symi Dream photos

At a screening

Symi Greece Symi Dream photos

At an event

Symi Greece Symi Dream photos

(Not me!)

Snippets

Snippets

Getting the week off to a start with a few snippets as I remember them.

I was at the desk yesterday morning when I heard a strange noise coming, I thought, from the courtyard or beyond. Our landlord opposite up to one of his home improvement tasks perhaps? But no, it stopped, and a moment later started again. Neil was in the bathroom, but even he doesn’t make noises like that, so I investigated, and we found a young pigeon in the living room, trying to get out of a closed window. I was able to pick him up gently and show him the open balcony doors through which he’d come, and all was well.

Symi Greece Symi Dream photos

It reminded me of the other day. We were sitting on the balcony when one of the local kestrels flew by about four feet from us. Nothing new there except it was being seen off by two sparrows, one trying to peck its wing and the other acting as an outrider. The power of the little people. We also have a house lizard who we found checking out the hall the other morning. I’m not sure what it’s called, Edward I think, but he’s a bit of a slacker as he’s meant to eat mosquitoes. If he ate all of the ones who have moved in with us, he’d be the size of a goanna by now.

Symi Greece Symi Dream photos

Back on the balcony, we’re often out there early as the sky changes from orange to pink to red and later blue, and the sea mirrors the colours. Now, for anyone who says the Greeks are the laziest workers in Europe (or whatever tripe it is those so-called newspapers come up with), you should try doing a summer shift on a Greek island. A friend of ours works at a swanky bar in the harbour, opposite our house and down. I know for a fact he goes to his shift at 3pm and, this being Greece, only finishes when they’ve cleared up after the last customer leaves. On Sunday morning, the last person didn’t leave, and the lights didn’t go off until after six. So, that was not only a fifteen-hour shift but an overnight one as well. I’m not sure if he has a morning/lunchtime shift, I wouldn’t be surprised. Btw, the other day he told me he’d not finished until 7.30 in the morning and the party that had kept them up all night only spent €150.00 – so I doubt there was a tip involved.

Symi Greece Symi Dream photos

Another snippet: The Secret Garden, I am informed, no longer has Greek music on a Monday night as I mentioned before, but tonight they are hosting their first open mic night. Anyone can go down and present their talent to the audience (or simply be an audience), sing, play an instrument, tell a joke, bake a cake, I don’t know, whatever you want to do, you will be welcomed.