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

Symi Books (3)

Symi Books (3)

Now then, if you like a bit of a treasure hunt adventure, comedy, Symi history and reading books where you might recognise certain people and places, you should like ‘Jason and the Sargonauts.’

Jason and the SargonautsJason and the Sargonauts

A mysterious iron chest arrived on the island of Symi, Greece in 1882 and was immediately hidden for its own safety.

121 years later and Jason is working as a holiday rep for SARGO holidays. When his grandmother turns up as one of his guests, she brings with her a locked cigarette case, left to Jason by his recently departed grandfather and given to him on Symi in 1944. The case is opened and reveals a piece of music, but the music is not what it seems, and Jason and his small group of pensioners soon realise that they have stumbled on a secret that has been kept hidden on Symi all these years. A secret both dangerous and valuable.

“This is Dan Brown meets Whitehall Farce with a bit of education about Symi’s history thrown in for good measure. Set on the Greek island of Symi, it’s a fast paced whodunnit with lots of laughs and loads of page turning moments. Yes, it was hard to put down. This book deserves a large audience and stands up there with the best novels about contemporary Greece.” Amazon review

Tomorrow, in our book tour, we leave Symi and set off on another mysterious adventure…

Symi Books (2)

Symi Books (2)

Today’s books continue the living on Symi theme. ‘Symi 85600’ covers our first five years here, ‘Carry On’ covers the next year or so (see yesterday’s post), and ‘Village View’ takes us all the way through 2013. Symi, Stuff & Nonsense fills in some gaps, adds to ‘85600’, and contains some travel stories from my past.


Village View

Village View

A year living on Symi, a Greek island. James’ blog posts from 2013, edited and set out in printed form with images by Neil Gosling, take us through one whole year living on a small Greek island in southeast Greece. From winter storms to summer visitors, from photo walks to book signings, and from goats to shrimp festivals, Village View gives us an upfront, honest and mildly edited account of James and Neil’s eleventh year on Symi.

“Please read this book, it will give you a warm gooey feeling and make you laugh, and teach you SO much. His love of the Greek Island of Symi is immense and his concern for its future prosperity is humbling. We can all help these beautiful islands by continuing to visit and letting them know we really care.” Amazon review

Symi Stuf & Nonsense _ebook - smallerSymi, Stuff & Nonsense

Part memoir, part observation, this scrapbook of anecdotes and witty observations takes us from Romney Marsh to Greece via a graveyard campsite, an adult film festival, and some unusual wordplay. What to expect when dining with the Turin jet set, what to learn when moving to Symi, and how to behave when held at gunpoint in Egypt; it’s all here along with a few train journeys, some mountaineering, and Symi’s first civil partnership.


“The logophile James Collins gives us a generous and entertaining peep into his life through his travels, his wordsmithery, and at times a quirky look at the day to day happenings on the magical island of Symi where he and his husband now live. Perhaps Symi has found its own Bill Bryson.” Amazon review.

Another book tomorrow…



Symi Books (1)

Symi Books (1)

While I am away, I thought I’d put up a list of Symi books that you might like to order or read on your Kindle. There will be other posts over the next two weeks advertising my books (‘cos it’s my blog) and all of them are available in print, on Kindle and on Kindle Unlimited where they are free – as long as you have KU.

Symi 85600 book review

Symi 85600

A collection of writings that present an honest and often humorous account of two ex-pats’ experiences of living on a small Greek island. This book also contains extracts from the symidream website and the complete guide ‘How to move to a Greek island or other place in the sun.’ “Even if you are not thinking of moving abroad this little collection will entertain and inform.”


I cannot wait to read it again…..and again…..and again…..I want to be buried with it – which may well be sooner than I think since I nearly died laughing during some of his witty observations!” Amazon review.

carry on up the kali strata CS

Carry On Up The Kali Strata

(Which is like Symi 85600 part two)

Carry On Up The Kali Strata is a collection of articles about living in Symi, Greece. Previously written for and The Symi Visitor, here they are gathered together in one volume. If you’ve enjoyed ‘Symi 85600’ you will like to read this follow up; if you’ve not yet discovered Symi island, then this is a perfect introduction.

Symi is one of the most beautiful and quirky places on earth and we had just got back from two weeks there. Carry on up the Kali Strata took us straight back there with the extra dimension of local knowledge and perception. Beautifully written and very funny.” Amazon review.


More books tomorrow.