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

A few random shots

A few random shots

Wednesday: up early as usual, a cup of tea on the balcony (it’s still just about warm enough at that time of day), watching the Blue Star come and go in the dark, some work, taking water into the sterna to top up, heading to Yialos later to collect a delivery, check the post, get some money and then a walk back up the road, sweep the courtyard, do the shopping. After that, the rest of the working day will be spent at the desk.

I was going through my folder of photos from the past year or so, trying to decide what else to tell you about today, and, as I couldn’t think of anything much to talk about, I thought I’d put up some older photos instead, May to July. Recently, my images have been mainly from my walks in the afternoon, or sometimes the morning so these might make a change.

A neighbour

A neighbour

Summer

Summer

Dusk

Dusk

April

April

Spring

Spring

Symi Shrimp Story

Symi Shrimp Story

Lights across the harbour reflecting in the water, the clank of wires against masts, the background chatter of content diners and a very pleasant meal out at Pantelis restaurant – that was Monday night. Not being much of one for fish and definitely not for shellfish, I opted for pork medallions in Roquefort cheese. Perfect. We were even able to hail Konstantinos and his taxi to take us back to the village afterwards.

oct 8 2_1

The shellfish thing is a bit of a story, but before I tell it, I should point out that the taverna in question is no longer in existence, and I shan’t mention its name either. In 1996, I came to Symi for two weeks thanks to an overpaid mortgage insurance and a bargain with some now-defunct holiday company I can’t remember the same of. I stayed up at Lavinia, and all the details are in one of my books, but I can’t remember which one right now. One evening, I went for dinner at X Taverna and decided I ought to try the Symi shrimps. When I was little, and we lived by the sea at Littlestone, we’d go out with shrimp nets, catch shrimps and take them home for mother to deal with. We also had cockle and whelk sellers with trays and stalls along the seafront. I had no trouble with seafood back then. (Littlestone was clinging on to its former glory as an Edwardian seaside resort, but its fingers were slipping from the edge of the cliff. It’s the setting for Middlestone in my novel, ‘Remotely’.)

oct 8 1

Dinner done, back to my apartment and later, off to bed – not late and without being wobbly on my legs, I should add. I woke up around three in the morning feeling a little unwell, and by the time I reached the bathroom, I was very unwell. I didn’t even have time to turn the light on so, when I finally crawled out, I was unnerved to find great red welts all over me, and I was sweating. Rehydrate was my first thought and I drank two litres of water and two Fanta lemons I happened to have in the fridge. Heading back to bed, I told myself I’d visit a doctor in the morning if the problem persisted, there was nothing I could do right then.

oct 8 3_1

I woke up at half-seven to find myself free of blemishes, quite settled down below and feeling on top of the world, as if I’d been purged, which I reckon I had. All the same, I now can’t stand even the smell of shrimps which is why I tend to avoid the Symi shrimp festival. Thanks to an unfortunate incident with two oysters in Selfridges and a Dublin Bay prawn in Dublin, I now avoid anything in shells and don’t like the sea-taste of most fish. There you are, now you know. But… Everything coming out of Pantelis’ restaurant looked superb, and it’s highly recommended for seafood, and I can vouch for the meat dishes.

oct 8 1_1

Shoulder, Walking, Chit-chat

Shoulder, Walking, Chit-chat

Our on the wily, windy moors… Sorry, that’s a Kate Bush song. I was out on the wild and (not too) windy hillside on Sunday afternoon. A shoulder injury forced me to stop writing for a day, and I have to take it easy, so a walk was a good alternative – thinking time with music on my headphones. Ah well, gives me time to plot another story about… something. A bit of Voltaren gel (I call it Voldemort) and some ant-inflams will sort it out before too long, it’s only a mild RSI. Here are a few pictures I took. I was wearing my new walking boots, so I was walking-in and walking in my walking boots. That’s a lot of walking. Well, three miles along the donkey track from Horio to Xissos and then back down the road.

I'm heading that way.

I’m heading that way.

Where it looks like either the side of the road is being rebuilt, or a new slip road is being put in. We’ll find out in time. I saw the usual Sunday afternoon activities: ravens wheeling round above me (a Chris De Burg lyric, anyone know the song? (I do)), goats on the hillside, a succession of people on motorbikes and in cars and vans going up and down, waving, tooting horns and calling ‘Yasou!’ as they passed, and a couple of countryside walkers on their way back to the village. Very pleasant and three miles in one hour.

Top of the path from Horio.

Top of the path from Horio.

Back home, a shower and down to the bar for a frappe. By the time I photographed it, the smile had sunk a little, but it’s always a smile-maker when your husband makes you a frappe.

And relax.

And relax.

Tonight (Monday) we’re going out to dinner with a friend for her birthday. It will be my first visit to Pandelis in Yialos. First!? Yes, I know, but we don’t often eat out downtown in the evenings, preferring to be home and asleep by half-nine, up early and so on. We’re are looking forward to it. Also, if we have a glass of wine, it will be our first in a week. A friend of mine overseas (Mr Box, for those who followed the summer London trip) did a drink-free September, apart from one day, so I am trying to emulate him. Thus I am allowed one day off in 30 (only 23 left to go). I am not emulating him too much though, seeing as how he goes swimming twice per week, plays football and has been doing a ‘boot camp’ regime at 6 in the morning three days a week of late. Yeah, well, you can put that in your gym bag and keep it there. I am 55 after all. (He’s 53, so he has the advantage.) Anyway, didn’t mean to bore you. Am getting on with my day now, writing by hand until the shoulder behaves, and plotting rather than typing.

A bootiful view.

A bootiful view.