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

Weekend, Work and Writing

Weekend, Work and Writing

We are definitely in that changeable time of year weather-wise. The other day, the thermometer in the courtyard read 24 degrees. On Saturday morning, it read eight. Mind you, it was blowing a gale from the north, and this was at 3.15 in the morning. One of the bedroom shutters had come loose, and the noise managed to penetrate my earplugs and wake me up. Not wanting it to wake Neil, I slipped out of the room, got dressed in the kitchen as I usually do in the winter so as not to disturb, and went outside to fix the problem. I nearly ended up in the harbour but managed to put the rocks back into place (to hold the shutter open) and made it back to the house without being swept from the hillside. That was something of a wake-up call, I can tell you.

Neil April 10_7

The winds battered us for most of Friday and Saturday, but no damage was done, and Sunday began in a calmer fashion. Most of my weekend was taken up in writing, as usual, but more than normal because I am four of five chapters away from finishing a first draft. It’s all mapped out in my head. I just need to put down the words and tell myself the story. Then, after a break, I can start again at the beginning and make reasonable words even better. I hope.

Neil April 10_3

I also had to compose a post for my other blog, my pen name writing one, and this week’s theme was character creation. This is a subject that people write books about, but I went for my usual stream of consciousness style and loaded up 2,000 words on the subject as it popped into my head. I did try and keep things to a basic structure, and I included drawings an artist has made of some of the characters I was talking about. If you’re interested, you can find it over at Jackson Marsh. There, I post about all manner of writing thoughts: Putting together a series, individual books, character interviews… I have guest posts too, and from time to time, when I am feeling studious, I have posts about the research I undertake to make the novels more realistic.

Neil April_07

So, as the new weeks starts… Only two weeks before I am due in Rhodes to start the process for my biometric permit. Before then, I need to organise my photos (SpacePhone in Yialos), find additional paperwork that shouldn’t be needed but, if it is, will prove I have lived here permanently without a break since 2002 (a blog won’t do it, sadly, but that’s now been on the go for 16 years). I will need to get permission to travel, plus boat tickets nearer the time. I think everything else is covered. And now, onto the firth-to-last chapter of a rather lengthy first draft that’s the last in the first series of historical mysteries…

Yesterday’s Post – Cause For Great Excitement

Yesterday’s Post – Cause For Great Excitement

Great excitement in the house yesterday as a batch of new tea towels arrived. That was kind of the highlight of my day… Actually, there were more. My certificate of adoption came through at last. I’m not being adopted, but I have adopted a Galapagos penguin. Rather, Neil adopted one for me as a Christmas present, and the certificate arrived yesterday. This was posted in January, and it’s an A4 piece of paper delivered by courier, so that goes some way to telling you how bad things are when it comes to new postage procedures post-Brexit. (But at least there was no extra charge.)

View from the Vigla in April. (Photos from Neil)

View from the Vigla in April. (Photos from Neil)

On which note, I also received a cable for my new Bluetooth headphones. I bought the headphones from an online company within Greece, and they took about a week to arrive. My piano has Bluetooth, and the idea was to connect the two things wirelessly, but it turns out my piano only Bluetooth-connects to a phone or tablet to read digital scores. I’m still a paper man myself and would hate to read a score from a screen. So, I had to order a cable, which I did via Amazon Germany on 9th March, so that took just over four weeks to arrive. According to the tracking, there was a hold up at Athens customs, but, again, I didn’t have to pay any extra to collect it. Not like some folks who have been charged €120.00 customs and tax on top of the postage they paid online before they can retrieve their post from the UK.

Neil April_61

I am currently waiting for one other thing in the post, and that’s a model kit from America. That’s about the only place I can find the kits I want, so I accept that it will take a few months for an order to arrive. That’s no problem, as they have always arrived eventually and in one piece. Well, in the correct number of pieces as you have to put them together yourself, which is the whole point. The kits only cost about $25.00 (depending on what it is), and the postage is usually the same again. However, I don’t mind that, because I know I will not be charged an extra €120.00 by the courier or customs. I’ve never had to pay any extra when ordering from the USA or even China, so I can only think the trade deal between the EU and yUK made during the Brexit fiasco was less ‘oven-ready’ and more’ past its sell-by date’ before it was even signed.

Neil April_59

And finally, in yesterday’s post, copies of bank statements I asked for but shouldn’t need when I go for my biometric card at the end of the month, and a bill for the household insurance which I will pay online later today. As I said, great excitement in the house yesterday, and I’ve not even mentioned the new oven glove that came with the tea towels.

Neil April_67