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

Sunday afternoon

Sunday afternoon

I had a slightly disrupted day on Sunday because I wasn’t able to settle into anything. You know how it is sometimes. I had been out and bought some paint so we could give the kitchen a fresh coat. Except we couldn’t because the paint was either off (unlikely) or so eco-friendly that it was made from the scrapings of a sewer with white colouring added; there was no way we were putting that stinky stuff on the walls. Will try another brand next time. We also had an appointment to keep in the square in the afternoon, and that was when the day brightened considerably.

Symi Dream

Monday’s view

Our insurance agent from AXA in Rhodes had come over with her husband and daughter. They were on a day trip, but it was a good opportunity to update our health insurance. In typical Greek fashion, we did this and the paperwork at a table at the café in the square while the football raged around us. ‘It’s so quiet here,’ she said, more used to life in Rhodes and work in Faliraki than the rural ways of Symi. She said this as England were scoring goals left right and centre-forward and the fans were cheering. I explained it’s usually a lot quieter than that, with maybe soft Greek music playing or just the grate of cicadas in the trees. We had a lovely chat and catch-up, and the insurance is all sorted for another year. Just have to save and pay for it when it’s due in August.

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Meanwhile, I was also putting the finishing touches to a trip to the yUK I am doing in July/August. The purpose of this is to see an old school friend who now lives in New Zealand but who is in London for one month only. Not a chance to be missed as we’ve not met for about 37 years. While there, I’m also going to see my brother, some other old school chums and friends in Brighton. I intend to spend three days on the Romney Marshes, having lunches, dinners and hopefully some long walks, weather permitting. I shall visit the imaginary area of Saddling (actually Fairfield, if you know the marsh) and take some photos. I’m now working on ‘The Eastling’ the third in the Saddling series – am up to chapter four – so a visit to the ‘felds’ and ‘dowels’ where Tom, Barry, Dan and the others live in my imagination should boost the creative inspiration.

Symi Dream

That’s not until the end of July though, and meanwhile, there are things to be done here on Symi apart from the daily writing. The room by room decorating of the house, hopefully without foul smelling eco paint, organising a new computer keyboard, currently in hand with SmartSymi, and trying to keep the courtyard plants alive as the temperature rises. Hardly a rat race.

Symi Dream

Music

Music

There’s usually some music being played live on Symi somewhere, and we have more of it in the summer months. If you are heading this way and fancy an evening of music with your drink, mezethes or meals, there are plenty of choices, depending on the day of the week. Off the top of my head we have, rock music at Lefteris kafeneion in the village every now and then, Greek music at Georgio’s taverna at weekends, guitar and voice at the Sunrise Café from time to time, Greek music one night at The Secret Garden (Monday?) and blues and western music there on a Friday. In Yialos, Steno, in the side street, is known for providing traditional music when the mood takes, Elpida’s café often hosts Greek music, again on various nights, and I am sure there are other places that I don’t know about, and that’s before the free Symi Festival starts, usually in July.

Symi Greece Symi Dream photos

I was woken on Sunday by the local ‘music’ in our lane. That’s supplied mainly by the cockerels who start up way before dawn like a fanfare. ‘Cock-a-doodle-do-get up, please’ rings out and is soon joined by the coo-coo of the collard doves, and then the piccolo high woodwind effect from the sparrows. I was on the balcony enjoying the peace and quiet yesterday morning around six when one of the local doves landed on the house next door and started up its regular, repetitive verse. I noticed a small hawk, possibly a kestrel or a kite, coming towards me. Its feathers were dark, though that might just have been the lighting as the sun was not yet over the windmill hill, and it passed between the two houses about six feet away from me. It was silent, but the dove sensed it coming and cut short its repertoire and made a hasty retreat into the nearby trees. The sparrows and even the cockerels also fell silent which was a bit eerie, but which also made sense.

Symi Greece Symi Dream photos

The harbour was quiet at that time too. No anchor chains being wound in, no chugging engines, it was far too early for the clang of the train bell, and any Saturday night party that had been going on was long finished; we can sometimes still hear the music from certain bars at six or even seven in the morning. So, a peaceful day began. Another peaceful day with plenty of time to write, tidy the house, oversee the godson who is painting our kitchen, meet our health insurance lady over from Rhodes, chat with friends in the square and generally have a relax after the relaxing day the day before.

Symi Greece Symi Dream photos