Symi Dream

Living on a Greek island

Symi Dream - Living on a Greek island

Calendars, Birthdays, AI and Stuff

A few bits and pieces in the parish notices today.

First, our copy of the new Symi Dream calendar arrived yesterday and has been put away ready for when it is needed, which will be, er, next year. There’s a link to where you can get hold of one if you want 12 images of the island on your wall through 2024. They include pictures of Pedi, Nimborio, St George’s Bay, Horio, Panormitis, Yialos and a goat, among other Symi classics.

calendar thumb

Secondly, it’s the birthday/anniversary/returning time of year. Today is Ian H’s birthday, tomorrow, it’s Neil, Claudia, and Justine, our wedding anniversary (me and Neil, not me and… you get the idea), and the anniversary of arriving on Symi to live, 21 years ago, plus many regular Symi visitors are returning for the popular month of September.

Strange then, that one of today’s photos shows the harbour yesterday when it looked like it was completely empty. I wasn’t, it’s just that I can only see a part of it from up here, and later, the quayside was again lined with boats.


Thirdly and onwards, today, Neil is off SCUBA diving with Blue Lagon Dives and is down for another dive tomorrow, so he’s happy. Yesterday, he joined the gym and went for his training session, yet was still able to collect our calendars from the post office and a package from ACS which was a present for Harry; a mounted, canvas photo of H underwater on his birthday (the day after, actually), which we dropped off to the not-so-wee chappie in the afternoon.


Meanwhile, I was beavering away on a piece for an online magazine I write for and used a thing called ChatGTP for the first time. This is something to do with AI, and, so far, looks quite remarkable. I was using it for research only as it’s faster and more detailed than Google (and more polite), and I’ll tell you about my experiences with it in more detail one day when I’ve had some time to check it out. It has the potential to write plots or even books for you, but I have no intentions of using it for that, simply to ask it questions, like a typewriter version of Alexa. Early days, so, more news to come on that.


As for me, once I’d sorted out an email abuse issue, I spent most of the day doing the usual typing, editing and pottering around with no great achievements apart from finishing an article, working through another chapter of the next book, and some general admin, all while wearing a tee shirt in the house for the first time in weeks. Actually, it’s such an old tee shirt there are more holes than shirt, but it’s just the perfect thickness for this time of year when I’m between full above-waist nudity and all-over autumn respectability. We’ll have the duvet back on the bed soon, no fans going, and will have to think about closing windows when the wind gets up.

Enough chat. Back to the typowriter for me and a day of creativity while the husband goes exploring underwater.

Mornings and Morlocks

You know what it’s like when you fire up the PC with your mind set to certain tasks, and then…? This morning, I must post something on the blog, finish an article, write a review, do a little admin and publicity work, pick something up from ACS, possibly make lunch because Neil’s going to the gym, and see what I can do about fixing the balcony door because the handle’s fallen off and the lock no longer works. All there, in my head, in order, with the morning planned to include some editing of the new book.


Then I find I’ve spammed myself with 100 emails from my personal email account, and I need to do something about it. This means logging into the control panel, finding the email account, and changing the password. Simple. Not. The control panel login doesn’t work, so I have to contact the server people and ask for advice. I imagine the ‘server people’ are like the Morlock characters from ‘The Time Machine’ who live underground way in the future and scurry about doing whatever they do, except they do it in some vast technological park in the Arizona desert, and don’t eat their Eloi cousins. I don’t know exactly what they eat, but they’re always very helpful.


So, support ticket raised, and I can get back to my day, except now it’s been thrown off kilter, and the issue has caused a five-minute interruption to my meticulously planned morning, so I doubt I’ll make it down to pick up the delivery which can wait anyway, and some of the pieces of work I have to do can wait until tomorrow too, because I need to be on hand to change passwords and do techno-things online. Hey ho!

None of which was what I was going to witter on about this morning. In fact, I’ve forgotten what that was going to be, although I had some great ideas yesterday when idly fiddling with a door lock and searching for something heavy enough to prop the door open with between now and buying a new lock. All gone out of my head.


Luckily, I have some photos from the other day when friends came over from Rhodes to visit for lunch, and we walked up to the Castro. I can use these to fill in some gaps and make your visit to this page worth the time and effort. I can then tell you about… No, hang on. I have had a response from the Morlocks who, in a very American way, thank me for reaching out, and are happy to deal with my issue. ‘Thank you for reaching out…’ An expression I particularly dislike because it makes me imagine I am drowning in a frozen lake somewhere in Nunavut or the North West Territories, and desperately trying to grab a tree root to save my life when all I really want is a password reset.


I’d best go and deal with my ‘issue’ because I have reached out, and the Morlocks are lined up along the shore waiting to throw me a life-saving rope. Besides, me telling you all this nothingness is eating into my day, it’s nearly five in the morning and that’s half the day gone already. Off I go, and while I go off, should you receive any spam email from me telling you I have recorded you, ignore it.

Will it? Won’t it? It will, but how?

It either will or it won’t. Rain, that is. It’s been the topic of conversation for the past couple of days, and the weather forecast wars have already begun.

‘We’re going to have a storm.’
‘Tuesday is going to be dreadful.’
‘My weather app doesn’t say anything about a storm.’
‘There’s the possibility of 0.03 mm of rain overnight!’
‘It smells like rain.’
‘Windfinder says there’ll be some cloud and a chance of a few drops. It’s usually accurate.’
‘These things change.’
‘I use Poseidon, it’s always right.’
‘Those look like rain clouds.’
‘It’s going to be a dreadful Autumn.’
‘Yes, I hear you are in for some nasty weather.’
‘I’m not going to the beach on Tuesday. My weather app says there’s going to be a hurricane.’
‘It was only storm force eight on my app, with a chance of snow. It’s always right.’
‘Better start building that ark.’

Get over it, people! We have a sky overhead. It is going to rain at some point. Surely there’s something of slightly more interest to discuss. (Currently, that appears to be the shocking news that the authorities have, after X number of years, decided to implement a legal requirement that’s been a requirement since it was legally required for the requirement of the first party to be required by the second party hereof to have the requirement in place and until it is, you can’t breach that required law, so there.)

The first rain since the last rain. It’s always the subject of great discussion and, surprisingly, not only among the British. Then again, the weather is a standard fallback discussion for anyone who’s not quite sure how to fill those long, three-second gaps in conversation that some nationalities can’t cope with at the café table. I’m more than happy to sit in companionable silence and watch the world turn, and don’t feel the need to constantly pump questions into a table mate as though I were a machine gun, and they the enemy. But, when these awkward (for some) pauses in what apparently needs to be a constant flow of conversation occur, the weather is often the choice of topic. Or the topic of choice.

The weather yesterday was exactly as my favourite weather station predicted. ( in case you were wondering. It has moving pictures and everything!) Warm, some clouds, light breeze, sunlight, chance of rain… We get some kind of weather here every day. There were thunderstorms over Turkey last night, but this morning, it doesn’t look to me as though we had any rain. It’s kind of semi-predicted-perhaps for later this morning now, and we’ve been downgraded from a definite light showering to a potential spit. So, stand down people and relax.

I often wonder how the weather for the island is predicted, seeing as there is no weather station here (that I know of). I always assume these sites and places take their historical readings from nearby, like Rhodes airport (?) or Datca in Turkey which is closer to us, or… well, I don’t know, but I do know meteorologists know their job, and that’s fine, but it’s very rare that what’s predicted on Friday for next Monday happens without changing, so you have to wonder about the point of looking at the weather forecast. Unless it’s to give you an idea of how the seas might be when you sail out of port, or something, the best way to ‘I’ll just see what the weather is doing’ is to go out in it.

Sunday Early Morning

Well, this is ridiculous. It’s so early on Sunday morning it might as well be Saturday night, and I am up and about, raring to go after an astonishing five-hour sleep. I can’t even blame the heat, as it’s nowhere near as hot and humid as it has been of late. I can only blame my enthusiasm for the day ahead, as that’s been the thing to wake me up these past months. Later, my siesta will happen around the time most people are having elevenses, and I’ll probably be heading to bed around the time people are heading out to dinner, if not high tea. Ah well. The day ahead is mine to do with as I will, and I know what I will be doing.

First, though, a cup of tea, and to look through the headlines of a virtual newspaper, exploring the full articles that interest me, sometimes tutting at the stupidity of the world, the gullibility of the masses, or the evil arrogance of old men who know each other and send into combat young men who don’t. Then, it’s a quick glance at the dreaded Facebook to find out what the distant friend of someone I almost met once is up to; to decline an invitation to follow someone I ‘may also know’ and ask, why would I? How would I? and, How would you ever think I’d want to? Through a slew of advertisements for things I either a) don’t want, or b) have only recently bought, and then I’m into the realm of inappropriate suggestions for pages to ‘follow’ as though I were a lemming, posts from groups I’ve never heard of whose interest is so far removed from my own they may as well be on Uranus, and more adverts for those I have just removed and been promised I won’t see again.


A calming cup of tea on the balcony, listening to the is-it-night, is-it-morning roar of the frustrated teen (and often, older man) as he powers his 50cc contraption up the hill thinking it’s a world land-speed record attempt, to treat the amphitheatre of the harbour to the sound of his twin-stroke, moped/lawnmower engine; to stop on the road to chat loudly with a mate; to return to the harbour because he’s forgotten something—his dignity, perhaps? Certainly his sense of community compassion— before having another go, and finally, fading away. By which time, the tea is done, and my mind is set to my morning ramble.


So, off on my commute, across the porch with a new cup of tea, the porch light switched on to deter the bugs, and into the workhouse to spark up the typing machine and my table lamp, which this morning, chooses to flicker and hiss as the bulb goes into its death throws at the only time I don’t have a replacement. I tighten it, and hope, but hope is futile, so I go searching for another just in case, even though I know I don’t have one. Opening drawers like a mime artist in slow motion so I don’t wake up the husband. Creeping around the house and finding nothing but the creakiest floorboard, and the noisiest drawers. Finally deciding to decant the piano anglepoise from the living room to the desk, all of which must be done in silence, and isn’t, and having plugged in the lamp, wonder why I haven’t done it before because it’s so much better.


And from there, I set about my day with this ‘get it out of yer head and who cares’ piece of whatever you are reading, before turning my fuller attention to finishing the first draft of a new story which is racing in at 105,000 words and is ripe for editing. As it’s Sunday, I will only work for six hours instead of the usual seven, and, if I am awake enough, will take a stroll around the village later to have a break and stretch my legs. I’ve been doing this for years, and they’re still short, so that ridiculous theory is clearly a lie. At least it gives me a chance to take some photos (when I remember), like a couple here today. Namely, the sunrise and the neighbour’s bougainvillea. The other picture is a ‘photo from the balcony because I need to put something up’ effort.

And so, to work, perchance to write something decent.

Friday Roundup

I think Fridays will become ‘A catchup on the week and random photo day,’ not that any other day on these pages isn’t random enough.

What have I done this week? Not an easy one to answer as I can’t remember what I did yesterday, let alone… Oh yes. One of the highlights was celebrating 26 years of meeting the man currently throwing himself around the sitting room with grunts and gasps. (Home workout routine before he goes swimming. I, meanwhile, hide and hope I’m not picked on to join in.) We went to Georgio’s Taverna for dinner with a couple of friends and received a hearty feed for a very reasonable price.

Not all photos are from this week. This one is from the week before.

Not all photos are from this week. This one is from the week before.

I have spent my average of 50 hours per week at this machine wearing away the keyboard and wondering why the H has almost faded and how long the T will last. I have stickers to replace them when I wear out the letters. I’ve spent a couple of hours at the piano trying to master a Mozart sonata I should have mastered years ago but was too busy playing swing, jazz and musical numbers to bother, and have started planning my piano student’s fourth year which should start this month when the schools go back.


Er… Oh, I went up and down the hill a couple of times to plot murders and things. Only book related, you understand. I’ve also been reading about music halls of the late 19th century and how they seemed to be more about scandal and court cases than song and dance. I’ve thought about changing the trap beneath the kitchen sink but not got around to it yet, and I have spent some time cleaning a cupboard. After that wrestle with the website, the tax bill got paid, freeing me up to donate some money to the water board. Michaelis came to read the meter weeks ago, but I’ve not yet seen the bill. It’s sometimes left in the gate, but never taken, and I wonder if it got put in the landlord’s post box by mistake. If so, it’s not there now (and neither is he), so someone may have taken it to pay on his behalf, thinking it was his. I’ll send a random amount to the account to keep things flowing and, one day, pop into the office with a reading to get the definitive bill. One day.


For now, it’s back to 1892, a steam train, a storm, a tower and a rather complicated piece of plotting which needs weeding in the second draft. Oh, I also watered the ‘garden’ this week.

Coming soon...

Coming soon…

A wall in the village

A wall in the village