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

All a bit dark

All a bit dark

No, I am not talking about a blackout or anything, but today’s photos. I thought as the sterna saga continues, you might like some images of what’s going on. So far, not a lot, but I did get a shot of the entrance to our water tank (the sterna, or cistern, beneath the house). You can’t see much, but you might see why anyone is reluctant to go down and investigate. Before we get to that dark and damp experience, here’s yesterday’s sunrise.

December 10th 1

That’s about as pretty as today’s few shots are going to get.

As for the progress on the water situation… It rained on Monday, so we had loads of free water pouring into the sterna from the roof. While this was going on, we were able to have showers and save some rainwater in a few buckets in case we need them later. After the downpour, there was a decent level in the tank, but most of that was gone within an hour, leaving us enough at the bottom to use for washing up and the like. The leak seems to be somewhere at a level above the top of the pump, so I am not too worried about sediment being dragged into the machine and ruining it, and it’s one of those pumps where if there is no water to pump, it shuts itself off, so the pump itself shouldn’t suffer damage. It’s down there somewhere…

December 10th 3

On Monday, our landlord came across to see how we were doing and check we were okay for the day and told us that his workman would be arriving after work that afternoon. Two guys appeared around half-three with the landlord, took a look at the sterna entrance and discussed options. This was all in a mix of Greek, Symiaka and Albanian, but I followed the thread as I knew what the context was. In the end, it was decided that they would bring a temporary tank to go on the bathroom roof and, I assume, plumb it in so we can use that as our sterna until they do the deed down the hole. Something they are reluctant to do now as it’s a big job (we wouldn’t be able to use the workhouse for some time because a wall and possibly floor need to be knocked through or something), the weather is unpredictable, and it’s winter, so that will have to wait until summer. As long as we have the tank, we don’t mind, but it did sound like a bit of an excuse to me. I waited in for the evening as they were due back with the tank and equipment after five, but thanks to a thunderstorm, they didn’t arrive.

You can't just pop a ladder in that gap and climb down the ten feet to the bottom, parts of the wall/floor will have to come out.

You can’t just pop a ladder in that gap and climb down the ten feet to the bottom, parts of the wall/floor will have to come out.

It’s Tuesday morning as I write and no sign of them yet, but we still have some water in the sterna, so it’s not a worry. I will have to wait around until they get here – which could be any time – and deliver the thing and set it all up. Meanwhile, Neil is covering our godparent duties up at the boys’ house while mum is away, and I’m missing out on the fun. But there’s no choice, not until we are back online with water and can fill up the new tank. Hopefully, this morning, as you read.

Get ready for the next thrilling instalment of ‘The House that Leaked Water’, a remake of the 1971 cult horror classic, ‘The House that Dripped Blood’, four shorts in one film written by Robert Bloch, a bit of a long way from his novel Psycho, but there you go. And here I go to wait around for a plastic tank.

Random Places

Random Places

While we wait to hear news about the sterna-fixer due last Saturday but not yet appeared, let’s go on a little journey. I was just going through my collection of images in the ‘for later’ folder, and I thought you’d probably had enough shots of the mountain and the path to To Vrisi, the walk up the road and so on, so I looked for something else. Actually, I’ve not been able to walk up the road much these last few weeks for one reason or another (rain, cold, waiting for workmen etc.), and so a trip around a few places might be of interest. Apart from anything else, it will fill today’s blog page and won’t take me long to do, so I can load this up ready for Tuesday and then pop across the lane to have a chat with the landlord and see what’s what with water. We’re down to about two flushes, and a kettle-worth left in the sterna dispute the weekend’s rain which went straight in and straight out again. Anyway, meanwhile, here is a random collection of images from some places I have been to this year.

Rhodes

Rhodes

Rhodes

Rhodes

Kos

Kos

Athens

Athens

Athens

Athens

Romney Marsh

Romney Marsh

Romney Marsh

Romney Marsh

Littlestone (Kent. View from my old house.)

Littlestone (Kent. View from my old house.)

Sunday Morning

Sunday Morning

Here’s a Sunday morning roundup for you. We had a fair old strong wind at the end of last week which delayed the boat from Athens for about 16 hours, meaning some people had to change flights and make alternative travel arrangements. The weather’s calm again now (not that I can see it with all the shutters closed) but it looks like we’re in for more wind and rain this week. The rain will be good for topping up the sterna. On which note…

Saturday in Yialos. A much calmer, sunnier day than most of late.

Saturday in Yialos. A much calmer, sunnier day than most of late.

The story has moved forward a couple of paces and back one. I called on our landlord on Friday to explain the problem we’re having. Andreas speaks less English than I do Greek but he speaks more local dialect than I do, of course, and has a strong accent which can make it hard for me to grasp everything he says. The other way around, I speak Greek with a horrible accent, and he is a little deaf, but together, we managed to shout and signal back and forth what we think the problem is. Roots or a crack in the sterna, allowing the water to escape somewhere into the ground until the level falls below that of the problem and we’re left with some water, but very little – and I don’t want to drain the tank dry and risk messing up the pump that’s down there. So…

December 8 2

It was arranged that he would call a mastoras (μάστορας), translated as a skilled worker, or more locally as a ‘master’ as in master builder, or by some as simply an odd job man. Whatever, it was a step forward, so I left it with him. He called over to us (he lives opposite) later in the day to let me now the plan. The mastoras would come at three the next day and take a look. He will have to open up the wall above the sterna and drop a ladder down, go down and assess the situation. Not a job I’d like to do, descending into a wet and slimy, cold hole, but it’s what must be done. The mastoras would be coming at three/three-thirty, Saturday. Andreas also checked that we had water, and I told him we had a limited supply. He then said that if we run out, we should let him know as he has a tank he can put on the roof and ‘wire up’ so we can fill that from the mains and have some water while we are otherwise without, which I thought was a very decent thing to offer. The thing is…

Off to collect a delivery from the book shop, one of the courier agents on Symi

Off to collect a delivery from the book shop, one of the courier agents on Symi

He was the head teacher of the technical college, so I am told and taught many of the men and youths who now work in building, plumbing, etc. In fact, he is known locally as ‘Daskalos’ (teacher). An interesting word as it can also mean ‘pedant’ so it could apply just as well to me. The story took a mild but not unexpected twist on Saturday afternoon when the only people to ring our bell were Harry come to collect his bags for a sleepover at a friend’s house, and Asif come to deliver several packs of water. No sign of the mastoras as yet, but it’s meant to rain later, and Monday is fill-up day anyway. Meanwhile, we’re using a friend’s washing machine down the road, and I have an excuse not to have to suffer a shower in the cold bathroom – not until completely necessary. I’ll let you know how it goes as it goes, hopefully, it will have gone in a week or so – it can take a long time to fix things like this so stay tuned.