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

Symi: Horio

Symi: Horio

Today I thought I would upload some more photos, taken by Neil on a walk around Horio last week. Those who have been to Symi will know Horio… Well, not everyone who comes here will. I am guessing wildly and probably widely, but I reckon that only a small percent of day visitors to the island make it to Horio. Lets’ say around 2%. Why?

Symi: Horio

Symi: Horio

Well, mainly, I guess, for a couple of reasons. 1) They don’t have time, being herded from boat to umbrella to craft demonstration to lunch to coffee to boat, and off we go again. 2) They only see photos of Yialos and, although the guides probably tell them about the village, they can’t find it. That’s been helped by new signage towards the end of last year. 3) They may get lost on the way up, or see the steps and think, ‘No way!’ and turn back. 4) other reasons I’ve not thought of.

Symi: Horio

Symi: Horio

It’s a shame that more people don’t make the trip up. You can come by foot if you like a good walk (about 10 minutes at a slow pace up 370 + steps depending on route), but there’s also the hourly bus and the taxi services. Once here, many who do make it ask for directions to the church. I assume they mean either the Lemonitisa or Castro churches that you can see from the harbour and not any of the other 13 + parish churches and chapels. It’s always a dilemma. When you see a sweating, puffing tourist who has made the journey by foot (and bravo to them), should you direct them, but tell them that the church is unlikely to be open? Or do you tell them and witness the disappointment? I just show them the way, and usually point them along the road past our house because, I figure, even if they miss the church, they will at least get a rewarding view of Yialos and the hills.

Symi: Horio

Symi: Horio

Anyway, that was that and here are the photos. You can find all of these places by delving deeper into the village than just ‘the church’, but that’s an adventure for another day.

Symi: Horio

Symi: Horio

Symi: Horio

Symi: Horio

Bits and Pieces

Bits and Pieces

A few bits and pieces, snippets of what we’ve been up to over the past few days, and photos taken on Sunday by Neil.

We had more rain over the weekend, and the harbour again suffered some damage as more debris was washed down from the hills. Parts of the village also had some minor damage. There are some photos online showing the water gushing over the bridge which lies at the bottom of a riverbed. Some of the roads in Yialos have new or worsened potholes, but luckily no-one was hurt. As far as I know, the damage is not too bad. I am guessing that rubble and thrown-away rubbish clogged up the damns which are designed to regulate such flows of water, and that loose topsoil was more easily washed away thanks to the huge storm last November.

Symi Greece Simi

In more cheerful and personal news, I spent a little time on Friday sewing a badge on my godson’s scout uniform. (With a little pride, I should add and not pride in my sewing skills, of which I have none.) I don’t very often get so domestic but sitting in the kitchen with a chilli bubbling on the stove and looking over the top of my glasses to thread the needle, well, I felt very homely. And also a little old. I have to take my glasses off to see things close up these days. I can look through the bottom of my fairy vocals (meant to write that and you were meant to snigger), but then have to hold things at a distance to get the focus. Another eye test is on the cards when I have saved up. The test is only €20.00, it’s the glasses that cost the cash.

Symi Greece Simi

Yiannis is back, and the Rainbow is open, as I might have mentioned, and we popped in for a couple of drinks on Sunday night. The bar began to busy up as there was an AEK football match due to start, but we headed into Georgio’s for a Sunday dinner; chips, meatballs and, for me, one of Noufris’ red bean stews. Perfect, and a good price too.

Symi Greece Simi

Meanwhile, I’ve been taping away and now have ‘The Witchling’ in a shape where I can soon send it to my beta readers. I just need to format it – though it will eventually be formatted properly by my layout artist – and I can send it off. I also need to arrange a cover, and I am hoping that it can be constructed and prepared while I am away in March. If you are interested, ‘The Witchling’ follows on from ‘The Saddling’, and although you don’t need to, you’re better off reading ‘Saddling’ first. I’ve used more dialect in this second book so Saddling will ease you into the dialogue and style. The Witchling hits the ground running, and you might want to get to know the characters and the location before you join the race to the thrilling climax. Well, it thrilled me. Anyway, more about that in time as we prepare for publication.

Symi Greece Simi

A Hot and Cold Ramble

A Hot and Cold Ramble

I received an email last week concerning the weather. Rather, concerning how some bloggers on Rhodes have stated that they hardly experience a cold day, and yet I am always blathering on about having the shutters closed and being cold here on Symi. How come? Well, along with some photos Neil took the other day, here are some ideas.

Symi Greece

I can’t, as they annoyingly say in American TV shows, ‘talk to’ the issue with any great meteorological authority, but I can guess and use my experience. On my blog, I write what I see and experience, so yesterday, I popped out into the courtyard to check the temperature. I realised I had left the thermometer in the sun, and so it read 32 degrees. This was at midday. Out of interest, I then popped it into the bedroom for an hour, and it dropped to 10 degrees. In the courtyard shade, at midday, it has, of late, been wavering around 14. So, no, that’s not that cold. Sadly, I don’t sleep in the sun in the courtyard, if I did I’d have to get my head down between eleven and twelve-thirty as, at this time of year, that’s the only sun it gets.

Symi, Greece

In the summer, the house heats up, and I mean the stone it’s built from and the concrete that the ‘workhouse’ that houses our offices, is made from. In the winter, the opposite happens. The walls cool down and stay cold. It was eight degrees in my office this morning, despite the warm weather yesterday, and it’s been like that since November. We’ve had rain of late (more debris washed down from the hills, but not as bad as late last year), and so we’ve had clouds, and the wind has been low, so it’s not been that cold. However, with no sun on the house and with our main room facing north and having French doors, and two windows, it only heats up when we turn on the heater, and then (as it’s over 12-feet high and open to the mousandra and corridor to the rest of the house), only stays warm for a short while.

Symi Greece

Which, in short form, is a way of saying: we live in a cold house in the winter and a warm one in the summer, but not everyone does. Some folk face south, some can afford more heating, some have better fitting windows and doors… And so on. As for Rhodes… I really don’t know. We in Symi tend to be a few degrees warmer than the reported temperatures on Rhodes in summer, and maybe we’re simply a colder island in the winter. No-one is very far from the sea and, if they are, they are up in the mountains. The point, for me, is, I don’t mind being too cold or too hot because, when one, there are always ways of becoming the other. I keep the shutters closed to keep the heat in, but would open them if we had the sun on the windows between November and March, which we don’t. At this time of year, it’s warm in the sun and feels very cold in the shade.

Symi Greece

Whatever the temperature, you’re sure of a warm welcome in Symi, as I am sure you are in Rhodes, whether you’re facing north or have more heaters that we do. But, keeping the house warm is the main aim here in winter… Except for when it starts to get damp. These days we warm up the workhouse in the mornings while the main house has its windows flung wide and shutters open to clear the house of damp. Come lunchtime, there’s a switch around as we settle in and, until the two-bar heater does its job, sit under blankets to warm up. Which is what I am going to do now.