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

More bits and pieces

More bits and pieces

We had a successful trip to Yialos on Tuesday in that we made a list of things to do, forgot to take it, but still remembered what was on it. Bank for money, pharmacy for some bits and pieces, Crystalo to order some carpet for Neil’s office (only taken four years to get around to that), supermarket for a few things you can only find down town, collect two parcels from two different couriers, post office, a beer at Pacho’s and a taxi back up – no walk on account of the bags and boxes we had to carry. Back home to put on heaters, keep the sofa warm and fight off a cold.

December 1911

That was about it. Wednesday, so far, is clear and cold, eight degrees in the porch and now the bedroom as I’ve opened the windows to blast away some of the damp, but fresh air and clear views across to Tukey and the mountains where you can sometimes see snow on the peaks. Other than that, not much update news, except high winds and rain are forecast again for Thursday and onwards. I’m hoping my new desk arrives this week so I can complete the study ‘renovations.’ I collected the banker’s lamp yesterday and had a look around online for a chair. I was tempted to order a Chesterfield Captain’s Chair (I know, extravagant) but the delivery cost the same as the chair itself. I think I will inquire of friends in Rhodes to see if any shops there sell similar things; repro is fine, as long as I can carry it onto the boat.

The Olive Tree in winter mode.

The Olive Tree in winter mode.

I’m also in the process of changing my driving license to a Greek one, and I’ll update you on that as I go along. So far, I have a list of what’s needed from the KEP office, and Dawn has also clarified something for me there, and I have someone translating my yUK driving license for me, front (and back!), which I will need before I can progress. Anyway, that’s all for another day. And now, back to the writing.

Cats always find the sunny spot even on a cold day

Cats always find the sunny spot even on a cold day

Thomas a Basket

Thomas a Basket

Just updating cat lover readers on the cat we don’t own, want or know the lineage of, Thomas a Basket. I call him that because he found his safe place in our laundry basket one day and had been returning to it every night. Unfortunately, he came with a cold, or some such bug and sneezed a lot of gunk over everything. He also dribbles and once or twice has done that on the clean laundry when it’s been hanging inside to dry. We keep this lean-to open, though it has a door, because the wires for the router hang through it and, like the rest of the house, it’s not much warmer with the door shut. This means Thomas has unlimited access to the laundry but not the study which leads off it. We keep that door closed.

jan 8th_3

He is usually there each morning, either in the basket or somewhere else to his liking but goes out during the day to do whatever tom cats do – and we all know what that means. He’s probably sprayed over everything, so if you meet in the street and my clothes smell ‘Tommy’, or call at the house and inspect the lean-to, that’ll be the excuse.

Yesterday's weather

Yesterday’s weather

While Thomas is revelling snottily in his B&B (Bed & Basket, we don’t feed him), his colleagues up the road are scratching around for a dry, warm place for the night that’s not too far away from their dining room, the bins. Symi Animal Welfare has provided us and others with a big bag of biscuits which we dole out to the needy every couple of days. We also keep any scraps that would be of use, like bones and such, and leave them for the strays. Otherwise, our house is cat free, and that’s the way we like it. Of course, as soon as Thomas a B starts bringing his bit on the side or family to stay, we might have to think again about our hospitality. I’ve told him this, and I think he understands. He watches me warily when I pass, ready to scarper if I show any signs of disapproval, but as long as doesn’t drip anything nasty on the clean laundry again, he can stay, either in the basket where I have donated an old throw, or on a pillow that was destined for the bin. Any other misdemeanours and I’d have to consider de-cat-itating him; get it? (I know, wrong Thomas, but you get my… Oh, never mind.)

jan 8th_2

Chilly Symi

Chilly Symi

Yesterday’s visit to Yialos to collect some post didn’t happen. It was a case of, ‘Let’s go now before it rains again… Too late.’ The rain was on and off all day. We stayed home instead, saving the adventure of leaving the house until the late afternoon when we nipped to the supermarket before calling into the Rainbow to wish Yiannis a happy name day on the way home.

Beautiful but icy.

Beautiful but icy.

You may not get the complete picture from the photos today as they don’t come with temperature, but another thing I did yesterday was take a shower in a bathroom that was a balmy eight degrees. The condensation is still dripping from the ceiling 24 hours later, and I need to get in there later and wipe it off. Usually, I’d put a heater in the doorway and take the edge off before heading in, but all three were in use in the study and sitting room. We’d normally have the window open as well, to help clear the condensation, so the tiles and ceiling don’t start growing black mould, but when it’s this cold, that’s not an option.

That's a thermal vest, sweatshirt, knitted jumper with hood, hoodie with hood, jacket, with hood and a smile. The 'keeping warm on Symi' starter kit.

That’s a thermal vest, sweatshirt, knitted jumper with hood, hoodie with hood, jacket, with hood and a smile. The ‘keeping warm on Symi’ starter kit.

It’s part of the winter routine in many houses — clearing the damp away before it can settle in. Once the mould starts it’s very difficult to get rid of, and the bedroom walls are showing signs of it, so that’s another place that needs regular cleaning with bleach to kill the spores and another place where it would be better to have the window open. At this time of year, not only are they closed but so are the shutters. Anything to stay warm.

Making sure the neighbours are fed.

Making sure the neighbours are fed.

Not complaining, just pointing out how it is. To return to today, we definitely have to go to Yialos no matter what the weather as we need to go to the bank and there is a package waiting for me at the bookshop, one of the courier delivery points. I think it’s the banker’s lamp for the desk. I will post a picture of the finished ‘study’ when it’s all done, I am currently waiting for an Ikea order of a computer desk and chair, and then, once they are in, I’ll show you what it’s like. I will still need to get new curtains, but I’m working on that. Still, nearly there and, when things are warmer, I shall be more inclined to spend more time there, writing notes and researching at the desk, and then doing the manual labour of typing at the computer table – and without fingerless gloves. I might have to wait a few weeks for that luxury as the cold weather is currently set to continue on-and-off stormy, cold and wet. Nice.