It’s Easter Sunday morning as I am writing this, I’m getting ahead of myself so I have time for an early walk tomorrow, and it is very quiet outside. Last night, as is tradition on the island, there were dynamite and fireworks after the midnight mass which we attended at Agios Athanasios.
This is a popular church on Easter Saturday night and several visitors and many local residents attended, lit their candles and then gathered outside for the end of the service in front of the church, while the fireworks wet off and the hills came alive with the sound of heavy explosives. Neil will have all the photos available to me soon so I’ll post some of them during the week. I only had my phone with me, and that leads me to explain today’s pics.
I am having a clear out of the recent photos from the phone and they are a bit of a mixed bag. You may have seen a couple of them already if you follow Symi Dream on Facebook where I sometimes post extra images. Others are from our early morning walks, so a few sunrises, a couple of the Alarm Cat watching TV, an afternoon stroll towards ‘To Vrisi’ on the south side of the Pedi Valley, the crumbling Lazy Days in the boat yard, a horse and his boy and Pedi itself. (A little photo for you Lin.)
Neil is currently out doing his first photo walk of the season with a lovey morning to be doing it. The sun is back after a couple of unsettled days, and though it has been colder of late, things should now be warming up again. I start my summer job tomorrow (mustn’t forget), so I will have mornings to write and do ‘things’ and then afternoon work, and then will be around to help at the shop, or do more ‘things’ at home – like try and write a new book, keep the house tidy and maybe even see what’s living in the garden.
Before things really get going though, we’ve got the dance show next Saturday. At The Opera House Hotel, everyone welcome, it’s free and stars around 6.30 I think – I will check that one. Neil and I are appearing in two tap dance numbers in the adult class, Neil will also be taking photos, when not doing his shuffle ball chance tap step heel, and there are, I think, about 18 dances in total with jazz, ballet and tap all involved. So, rehearsals for that this week and they come after today’s Sunday lunch.
We will be going to the Harry house as usual, Sotiris has donated half a lamb to the family, Yiannis at Lefteris’ Kafeneion generously donated Neil and I wine box the other day, er, a, um, ten litre box of red wine, which is very generous and will be handy for wine nights for a good couple of months I’d say. We’ve done the fasting bit (kind of) and we’ve had the red (blue) eggs and the bread and so today we can look forward to Symi lamb with Titanic Mint sauce.
I made the mint sauce from a book given to me for my birthdays: recipes from the Titanic. So on Good Friday evening we also had Titanic pea soup (Pottage Saint-Germain) which involved the use of a lettuce, I couldn’t find the exact type needed (Romaine) so I had ti use an iceberg, and only realised half way through making it what I was using. Anyway, enough rambling. Will let you get on with your Monday and remember this was written Sunday morning. Hoping you had a peaceful Easter, and should be back with you tomorrow.
A gallery of images for you today on Great Friday. I aim to be blogging over the weekend, but I might take a couple of days off, so if I ‘go dark’ you will know there is nothing to worry about. Wishing you a peaceful and celebratory Easter if you celebrate it, else, just wishing you a good weekend.
Easter weekend is fast approaching us, houses are being cleaned and painted up outside, the shops are busy with people buying in all that’s needed for the end of Lent, and the churches have been busy with the services that take place throughout this week. I am just catching up on the end of our walk last Sunday with a few shots that I took, like this one of a field full of yellow flowers seen on the way home.
Did I tell you that the new book is out at Amazon in Kindle format? Here’s the link to Village View: A year on Symi. I notice that the page breaks don’t show up in the Amazon ‘look inside’ example of the book; they do in the real thing.
Yesterday we were up early again for a morning walk before starting the day and, as we needed to use the ATM machine, we headed down the Kali Strata to the bank and then someone had the bright idea of heading back up the kataractis. That was a joy at 7.00 in the morning, a shower was needed afterwards and a doze off after lunch to recover. But at least we did it, and Neil got a very nice shot of the early morning harbour.
On Tuesday night four of us spent an hour and a half going through our tap routines for Saturday 26th and trying to drill some of the finer points into our heads. I still sound like a carthorse, but that can’t be helped. We will have a few run-throughs next week and hopefully another session like Tuesday night and be ready and on top form for the show which will be held at the Opera House.
Before then there is a town hall and Women’s Association sponsored dance and celebration in Yialos on Sunday evening (at 19.45) when the traditional burning of Judas is to take place. That will follow on from Great Friday, the solemn day of fasting, Easter Saturday and the traditional midnight mass, followed by fireworks, dynamite and feasting, and an Easter Sunday with the family. More photos to come no doubt, but for now an image to mark the end of our winter walking season and the start of our summer.
Full gallery of the walk to the ancient Castro tomorrow.
Symi Dream handy tip alert: In case you missed your free copy last year, here is the Olive Tree guide to Paska on Symi. This is a PDF file which you should be able to download and save, print, or open and read online. Click here for your Guide to Symi Easter.
I am employing the use of tachygraphy today as we carry on across the hillside. Yesterday we got as far as Ag Nikitas and the church there. If you are following this walk and making notes then so far we have: left the village on the donkey path which leads to Ag Paraskevi, passed the friendly dog by the road who likes to have his back scratched, headed across the main road and off onto the track towards Panagia Mirtariosita, taking the lower path to slip past it underneath on its south side, and then heading up the track towards St George Kotikon, but heading off the left hand slipway and up the hill rather than along, and so to St Nikitas and then heading to the left of the church, through a small patch of trees and out onto the open hillside.
Phew, that was a march and a half and mainly up hill, but worth the clamber for the views now awaiting us and a good place to sit and do some bird watching:
From up here there is a view down towards St Emilianos, and across to Turkey, and a little further along the side of the hill, towards the sea and other Dodecanese islands. From this place I was able to see Symi (of course!), Rhodes, Halki, a faint edge of Karpathos way beyond it, Tilos, Nissiros, Kos, and at one point on the walk, Bodrum as well as Datca in Turkey. Not bad on one day. Through binoculars I could even see the houses in Tilos’ main harbour. This photo is actually of the quarry on Kos.
It is also possible to see down towards and over the bay of St Vasilis, which is on the other side of the hill you’re on, so you can’t see it without going over the top, and across that bay towards Lapathos and Apiana bays. Those who have read and studied Jason and the Sargonauts will know that this is the bay Jason and his tourist guests should have landed at (Apiana) when they were marooned by the duplicitous boat captain. If you have not read it then a) that won’t mean anything and b) shame on you, you skilt! Taintwivy thee to Amazon.com (kindle version here, if you buy the paperback you can get the Kindle version for £1.99 or something ridiculous).
And finally we make it to the ancient fortification of Castro, which is recognisable from the huge pile of old fallen down stones around the base of some very sturdy walls. I am calling it Castro as that’s what it says on the map.
While here we found the two halves of a pottery handle; Lyndon found one half and I found the other a few paces away, and they fitted together perfectly. There was also part of a rim of a large jug or amphora. I have no idea of the age of the piece though, could be 100 years could be 2,000 or could be ten I guess.
So, after having a look at all views from the old Castro and after a rest, having found ourselves to be a little flabile, we headed back through the woods and towards home. There are still photos to come, which will be up tomorrow, and still some sites to see even on the homeward march, but that will have to wait until another day.
Tachygraphy: (Johnson) n.s. The art of practice of quick writing.
Taintwivy: at full speed
Skily: (Johnson) n.s. [A word used by Cleaveland, of which I know not either etymology or meaning.] Well, how very helpful Mr J.
Flabile: (Johnson) blown about by the wind
I’m not sure how I am going to do this as I want to get in some old words and I want to tell you about a walk. The old words are new to me, but they come from “The Vulgar Tongue, Buckish slang and pickpocket eloquence”, by Francis Grose. This is a book that Jenine gave me for my birthday and is based on dictionaries by Francis Grose from 1785, which is why I can use words like Sutler, without having to worry that my spell check doesn’t recognise them. And, while I am doing that, I can show you this photo from my early morning walk yesterday:
And then I can turn to page 67 (a random number from the top of my head) and find the word… well, verb actually, To Chouse, which might well go with our new friend the sutler, who actually wouldn’t be much of a friend for long. “My, that sutler was a sutler and knew how to chouse!” And that kind links me on in no way whatsoever to the start of this week’s walk story. We started out from home at around 10.00 in the morning, leaving the Alarm Cat totally in charge of security arrangements:
We were heading, with Justine and Lyndon, up to the ancient fortification of Castro in a part of the island that I’d not been to before. Neil had a rucksack full of supplies, camera equipment and water and I had the old camera with the long lens, so my photos are mainly distant shots. I have to say that although we didn’t need money with us I was, on Sunday morning, a lansprisado as we paused to look down on the monastery of Michaelis Roukoniotis:
Heading on up the path, which was rubbly in places, we could look across to the mountains of Turkey, rubifick in the morning light. We headed up hill, and then uphill some more (my legs are still aching from this walk) and into the woods, as Sondheim might have said, where we stopped to rest at the church of Agios Nikitas:
Now then, I will save the next part of the walk for tomorrow and leave you with a random word from page 111 of my new old book… Oh charming! I see my book knows me already as the first thing I saw on page 111 read ‘Duffer’, my eyes then strayed down a little to Dumb Glutton which I shan’t go into, and then over the rest of this page and page 110, both of which seemed to be filed with very lewd words and meanings, so I did look up Duffers and found them to be “Cheats who ply in different parts of the town.” I suppose that’s what we get from looking in a dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. Here’s a photo of the view from nearby Ag. Nikitas; tomorrow we are heading to the left of this photo and the ancient Castro.
Sutler: A camp publican. Also one that pilfers gloves, tobacco boxes and such small moveables. (Moveablbes, another word that the spell checker doesn’t recognise. And a pilferer of gloves eh? You Sutler you!)
To Chouse: To trick or to cheat.
Lansprisado: One who has only two-pence in his pocket.
Rubifick: (from Johnson’s dictionary) adj. Making red.
And on the walk through the trees, past the church of St. John. This is the last gallery of photos from the walk we did a week ago last Sunday. We did another walk yesterday and there will be photos from that before long. But before we get to the gallery I should welcome you to Great Week on Symi, the last week of Lent and the week before Easter. Bells, services, fasts, it will all culminate with the Easter celebrations at the end of the week.
Village View has already started to get some great feedback: “Brilliant read and totally absorbing.” “Enjoyed tremendously…” Thank you for those comments folks. Remember, if you write and publish (a nice!) Amazon review there’s a book in it for you. And now, here’s that gallery for you. These photos are kind of in the wrong order as we start off over on the east side of the island at Ag. Faneromeni and the church, and then later we’re back towards Panormitis in the forest and the church of St George that is there. There are photos of the icons and decorations of each. As usual, you can find all our Symi photos from the photos index.
We’re having a break from galleries and walks today to publicise then new book which is at last available online. Copies are on their way to the Symi Dream shop as well, though may not be here for a while, and only a few. So, your best chance is to buy a copy from Amazon, Lulu or any of the other outlets, rather than hope we still have some in the shop when you come to Symi. The price is, as always for my books, the same as usual, despite the fact that this book contains more photos than any previous one, and that it is nearly 300 pages long.
That’s 300 pages of last year’s blog, edited and illustrated and formatted to make for easy reading and to give you one whole year in the life of Symi, a small Greek island. There are mentions of several regular visitors to Symi, and some local characters, some photos of visitors and locals alike, as well as images of the island, its festivals, the Alarm Cat of course, and our life during our 12th year on the island.
This is the black and white paperback version, the first edition to come out. In the future there will be a Kindle edition, but that is being formatted at the moment (and sorry, but it won’t be for 99p or anything like that, it will be full price; a book is a book whether you read it electronically or on paper, it’s the same amount of words and work), and there should also be a colour version too in due course. The cover is colour on this first edition, but the photos inside are in black and white, the colour one will be more expensive and probably only available online.
I just did a search on Amazon UK and put in ‘Village View’ and it came up top of the list. The page it linked to is here.
The price there is £10.60 which is less than the RRP of £12.05, so that’s good news. There is also free delivery in the UK I notice. On Lulu it is €15.00 (which is what it will be in the shop) and both are plus postage of course. It should also be appearing with other outlets, like Barnes & Nobel, shortly. Village View from Lulu.com
Now then. If anyone would like a free copy of my novel, The Judas Inheritance, when that comes out later this year, all you need to do is write a review of Village View on Amazon or Lulu and I will have a copy of TJI sent to you when it is ready. I am looking forward to reading your reviews as much as I hope you are looking forward to reading Village View: A year on Symi.
Text by James Collins
Photographs by Neil Gosling
Cover art by Sarah Bassett
Editing and layout by Allan Robinson
Alarm Cat (11 years old yesterday) appears by kind permission of himslef
As we are having a run on galleries this week, today’s is a combination of photos from our recent walk to, among other places, Agios Ioannis Tsagrias (I hope I have that correctly) and the Byzantine wine presses. I mixed these two galleries together purely because of the number of images. Before we get there though, here is a photo I took on our early morning walk yesterday – using my phone, I should add.
At the church of Agios Ioannis Tsagrias you can see the old frescos, those that have survived (just), their time here and the candle black. And across the valley outside you can see what looks like an ancient possibly Byzantine stone wall. Over at the wine presses you get treated to a Power Ranger, or Transformer or something, hanging on a wall, some lovely views, a chaffinch in a tree, and some fellow walkers. The only thing missing is a photo of a wine press! Silly me. I will have to see if Neil has one I can use another time.
First though, here is a photo of the upper village in the sunrise, again from the phone.
Agios Ioannis Tsagrias and the Symi Byzantine wine presses