I am doing one of those ‘getting ahead of myself’ things and writing this on Sunday morning.
Things are a bit hectic when there are guests around. Only really in terms of getting up earlier to get house things done before meeting people for the day. But this monring (Sunday) Neil has taken Ma & Co. on his photo walk with some other walkers and, as I write, has just phoned me. Always a worry when your seventy-something mother (who is fitter than I am, I should add) is out there somewhere in the valley and Neil phones you up. Luckilly he only wanted to know the Greek word for butterfly. Did you know that in Ancient Greece a word for ‘butterfly’ (πεταλούδα) was ‘soul’ (ψυχή), or mind or psyche… depending on which website you get your answers from.
Fascinating. Anyway, while he is out doing that I have a couple of hours to catch up on bits and pieces around the house. I’ve just dug some holes in the garden and put in some plants, and Jack has just come back in from a walk-about with suspiciously dirty paws. I will need to go and see if my lemon thyme (or whatever I bought) is still in place.
We’ve done nothing but eat and drink the past few days. It sounds like we can afford to eat out all the time, but we can’t; that’s only the first flush of holiday excitement. We’re staying in tonight and ordering Dolphin Pizzas. [Note: look up the website and see if there’s an online menu. There is, in PDF form, and there’s the phone number for orders. Dolphin Pizza.] And they will deliver to the village, if you can explain to Vasilis where you are, or arrange a rendezvous.
That’s tonight (last night actually). So far on his visit we have tried out: Taverna Giorgio and Maria in Horio who gave us an extra wine and a rather nice loyalty bonus discount; great food as always, lots of different mezethes and some ‘plates’ as well. We’ve had two lunches at the Olive Tree, all healthy stuff there with homemade quiches and juices and cakes with cream. We’ve been to Taverna Zoi for dinner, “well, just a bowl of soup or something”, which turned into two courses each as it’s all so good (plus loyalty bonus wine jug and fruit). And we’ve had a meal at Meraklis in Yialos complete with loyalty bonus sweet, a sandwich at Café Eva, a huge array of snacks at Mandeio in Horio (where you don’t need a loyalty bonus as it’s all so reasonable to start with) and two lunches at home. Good Lord! In return mother has offered her feet to fish in Yialos and fed them at The Fish Doctor. We’ve also bought plants from the new ‘garden centre’ by the town hall, loads of shopping from Sotiris ‘Hello Doby’s mama,’ and helped out Yianni-Rainbow’s retirement fund a little.
And all this while also having a G&T on a terrace at the insanely wonderful Kyriaki Apartments in the care of Kalodoukas Holidays; and a huge thank you from Ma & Co. to everyone who helped get the water pump under control. You really do get an excellent service from Frances, Michelle, George and everyone else involved.
So, enough of all that. I now have to tidy up a bit before having a shower and heading off down the Pedi road to meet the walkers at Kastaras on the jetty and have a quick bite to eat before racing back up the hill (hopefully by bus, or else the shower was redundant) by three.
You will find links to all of these tavernas and bars, holiday companies and shops at Symi Best – giving you only the best of Symi in one listing, and completely free advertising for all Symi based businesses who want to be there.
Yesterday was a bit of a being on holiday day (after getting up at six and writing for three or four hours).
A cup of tea at Village HQ (The Olive Tree), a walk down the steps to the accountant, “come back later”, a browse around the shops – how many new shops are there in Yialos this year? (Note: contact www.symibest.gr about this.) A coffee at Eva and then nip back to the accountant, “I didn’t do the papers yet, come back tomorrow.”
A wait at Pacho’s while mother gets fish to do her feet and has a foot massage next door at the Fish Doctor, and then finally a taxi back up the hill. Do the shopping at Sotiris, “hello mum,” and wander home with bags of healthy stuff. Make a salad, have some nice ham with it, sit on the terrace for lunch. Visit the Rainbow Bar and watch the annual hanging of the awning; Fanouris was up and down his homemade ladder with frightening speed, arranging the wires and cables and tying the knots. This must be about the ninth year I’ve watched this event. Luckily it passed off with no accidents.
And then the afternoon slips into evening as we all meet up, Guests included, and head to Taverna Zoi for ‘a bowl of soup’ which turns into several starters, a main course each and probably too much wine. And then finally heading back to the Rainbow to listen to the live music from next door only to find out that both bars are playing a football match and you can’t hear anything but the occasional near-miss sound effect and a commentator; oh, and the fans blowing those strange horn things. A nightcap there and then home to bed.
And all that under a cloud or two which produced about 16 spots of rain in the afternoon and which seems to have passed on by his morning. And as for today, well, who knows what lies in store, apart from a trip to the accountant, again.
Another early start after another busy day yesterday: meeting the family at the Olive Tree, taking a walk through the village, showing the guests the house, walking up to the Castro and around to get the views, then down to the village again.
In the evening heading off down to Yialos to look around, seeing Takis and his latest leather artwork, ladies buying bags, and natural products from Dawn’s shop, taking a look at the sponges for gifts to buy, dinner at a taverna and a bus ride back up the hill. To meet Neil at Mandeio, have a nightcap and finally head home.
This morning will be a similar event except I have to go and see the accountant and the guests are planning to ‘head to Nimborio, or perhaps not, will see how we feel when we get up.’ Quite right too, you’re on holiday.
And as for the weekend ahead: the usual village events are planned: live music at Georgios, and other venues I expect, and the photo walk on Sunday; Neil already has bookings but there are still places available. Wine night on Monday… which makes for an opportune moment to mention the following Monday: at the wine night (on 17th June) there will be an exclusive book signing by author Dominic Ranger, signing his new book ‘Midas’ which is partly set in Symi, I understand. But there will be more about that in due course.
Just very briefly this morning, as there’s a lot to be done at the house before I head out for the day to meet Mother & Co. (liked the comment Jon! Lol) and see what today holds in store.
A day and a night in Rhodes felt like a holiday in itself, though I didn’t actually do much. I took a couple of photos but they all seemed to be ‘views from a dining table.’ Breakfast: by the old market, on the seafront, looking across the road to the Symi II. Lunch at ‘Napoleons’ where you can get a spaghetti Bolognaise for €5.00. And dinner at the China Burger where the chicken and veg went down well. Between meals I was at the Plaza, reading, dozing and generally hanging around.
The bus to the airport was the usual adventure, and I headed up there early just for a change of scenery. It wasn’t until I got there that I realised I could have come and had dinner at the taverna opposite for a change, and for a new experience. But instead I went to the café in the new building to investigate a glass of wine. “Can I have a glass of wine?” I asked the young lady behind the counter. “Are you sure?” she replied, and then went on to persuade me to have a small bottle as it would be safer. “When I pour a glass for people they all complain,” she explained, looking at the tatty old box in the fridge. Fair enough.
I sat and sipped and wondered at the name of the café. It’s in the new international departures area where you can sit and watch huge long lines of grumpy holidaymakers stressing up before heading back to Moscow, Vienna, Glasgow and other exotic locations like Manchester. You can see how, on occasions, the lines stretch right back and out of the doors, you can have a front row seat on other people’s misery. The name of the bar is rather provocative, I thought: “Qu.” I’m not sure if that’s just “Queue” or Q-U, as in “Queue-you Jimmy!” Either way it seems a bit of a micky take for all those people waiting with cases, small children and sun burn who are dying for a drink but can’t actually leave the Qu in order to fetch one from Qu in case they lose their place in the queue.
Anyway, must get on; things to do and adventures with family to be had.
BTW: L. O. L. O. A. Q. I. C. (‘ello, ‘ello, a queue I see…)
I’m not sure what time this post is going to get online today, but it will probably have to do for Tuesday and Wednesday as I am currently on my way to Rhodes.
Actually, I’m not currently on the way to anywhere as the Panagia Skiadeni hasn’t left yet, and I am sitting in its rather plush lounge with my first coffee since Romania (March) and a bottle of water. It’s 6.47 and I have been up since 5.30, due to set off at 7.00. An early start as I am heading over to Rhodes to take care of a few bits of business during the day and to meet Mother and Co. from the plane tonight. Tomorrow will be taken up with the return journey, via Panormitis. (If heading this way, buy your boat tickets early, the day trip sailings on the Panagia Skiadeni have been selling out; I bought our tickets last week.)
Knowing I had to be up early today I had an early night and was happily drifting off when someone in the neighbourhood decided to build a chicken shed from scratch. Well, that’s what it sounded like, in the darkness, through approaching sleep. Someone with a hammer and some wood knocking up a quick henhouse at 10.45 pm. I did wonder if it was the builders who had been working on a nearby roof all morning, but doubted it.
Anyway, managed to get to sleep for a while before being woken up by the loudest alarm ‘tune’ in the world, with the phone right next to the bed, managed to get down to the harbour by 6.40 and am now (6.55) feeling the engines start up beneath the carpet. Yup, we’ve started to ‘shimmy’ so I’ll switch off as my coffee is now dancing perilously close to the laptop and getting closer.
9.24: now at the Plaza Hotel, Rhodes, walked around from Akantia harbour (if I remembered the name correctly), straight to hotel, straight to check in, a room is ready and here I am wi-fi and fancy free. A couple of shots from this morning, a quick blog post and out I go to take care of some business. Have a good day!
There were all kinds of scary things happening on Saturday night at The Symi Gallery (today’s photos), not least of which was my vamping out a couple of Tom Lehrer numbers. There were also poems, a drama piece and some video, plus readings and participation from local folk, Greek, English, French and Danish alike. I think my highlight of the night was Lynne reading ‘the Raven’ by Edgar Allan Poe, one of my favourite poems of all time (though I still don’t understand it all).
Saturday was also Dawn’s birthday so there was a lunchtime gathering in the square and then later, I believe, an evening one as well. We were home early on Saturday night as Neil has his photo walk on a Sunday. A day which was rather windy and grey I have to say; gusting to 33 knots at nine in the morning according to ‘windfinder.com’ (who also have Symi as being in Turkey, but whose weather reports are usually pretty accurate, after all, we are closer to Turkey than we are to Greece). Luckily to looks like things will be calming down after today.
Apart from that, and a barbeque in the evening on Sunday, it was a pretty quiet weekend, oh, apart from another Symi spider making itself at home in the house on Friday night, I am sure they are breeding in the old armchair by the fireplace, or more likely they are dropping down the chimney. Or even more likely they are abseiling down the chimney in full climbing gear. There’s probably a platoon of the things living in there and each night they send one out on manoeuvres to worry the humans and snaffle supplies: food, something from the fridge, the X Box…
Enough of that, on with the week ahead highlights of which will include: wine night, Monday, 5.30 a.m. start to Tuesday for the 7.00 boat to Rhodes, a day in Rhodes, meeting mother and her friends at the airport, a night in Rhodes, a day trip to Panormitis on Wednesday, a Kalodoukas transfer up to the village, and another photo walk, at least. Should be a fun week.
First of all the photos are from Roy and Anne Ruddick who sent them in to share and to go in our Old Symi Photos gallery. Roy and Anne write:
Found these pics the other day. Our first visit to Symi was on a day trip from Rhodes in 1987. Instead of following the crowd around the harbour, we went the other way to Nimborio. We followed the track after seeing the Taverna arrow painted on a rock!”
Funnily enough I took a photo of ‘Taverna’ painted on a rock, on my phone, only last Sunday on the way back from Nimborio.
The second message is from Irene and some of our regular blog readers may be able to help her. (If you can email us here.) Irene writes:
“Dear Neil, My mother came from Symi and for many years we have visited. Sadly I have not been there for about three years now. However, my heart is still in Symi. I have been writing at random, and one of the things that I remember being told by a cousin was that some of our troops may have been buried on Symi in WW2 in unidentified graves. Have you got any knowledge of this, and would there be any recording in the Dimarhio. I am just wondering how many families are still trying to trace their heroes of that period. By the way I enjoy reading all your writings on Symi. You are very lucky to be living there full-time. Bye for now, Irene Berridge.”
Any ideas anyone?
And the last message is from Melanie and Travel A La Carte www.travelalacarte.co.uk who wrote to let us know that:
“Villa Laza is looking lovelier than ever, if that’s possible. A few improvements, a few additions, the pool is clear & cool, the terraces an absolute delight and now, direct on-line booking facility. The Villa offers accommodation for up to 6 people comfortably & is totally private, the Penthouse for two is beautifully intimate with amazing views from both balconies.
Available dates at the moment are;
6 – 12 June both the Penthouse & Villa
26 June – 14 July, the Villa
25 Sept – 12 October either the Villa or the Penthouse
And finally, for anyone who wondered what was happening with Koukoumas in the village (the traditional celebration that usually takes place at the start of May in Ag. Athanasios), well, Papa Lefteris told us that due to a death related to the church, he is unable to hold any festivals at the church for a suitable period of time. But that Koukoumas would be held there as soon as the appropriate amount of time has elapsed. As usual everyone will be welcome, visitors included, and as usual Symi Dream will be there to photograph, and I expect Peter will be filming. I’ll keep you informed.
Back to one of those usual diary entries today, a quick catch up on what’s been going on and what is happening on Symi, and the film in particular.
We are aiming to get the script for The Judas Curse finalised over the next few days. As you may know when you write a script for a film it’s not a case of saying ‘here it is’ and then putting your feet up, there are all kinds of collaborative stages to go through. The current one is what I call ‘producer input’ and in this case the producer is also a scriptwriter, so that’s a very useful process for me. We ‘ve been tightening the story as well as considering locations, time of day, number of cast and so on; it’s going to be a very small budget and a very tight shooting schedule, if it happens.
But we have had some interesting news back from the “Hellenic Republic Ministry of Education & Religious Affairs, Culture And Sports General Secretariat of Culture 4TH Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities” about shooting footage in the catacombs of Nimborio and on Symi generally. No permission is needed to film in Horio, or Pedi apart from inside churches (where church permission is also needed), but to film inside the catacombs, or ‘Dodeka Spilia’ as they are formally known, permission does have to be sought, and when asking for this in writing the film company would need to submit a full script, exact dates, and exact list of props and ‘other means affecting the site.’ And there is also a fee set out in a piece of legislation with such a long title I shan’t repeat it here.
But that’s great news; though we probably won’t be able to afford to use the catacombs, and it was only for one minor scene. But it does now mean that 1066 Productions now has the blessing of the Mayor of Symi who has welcomed them to film here, and the ‘Archaeologia’ in Rhodes has also said exactly what is necessary, and where we want to film is covered in the ‘needs no special permission’ area. Now we simply need to find a few locations and houses, ruins and lanes that are suitable and seek permission from a few house owners. If the project goes ahead then we will be seeking all kinds of other help and support, but more about that if/when there is firm news. If you’ve still not seen the concept trailer then here’s the link: The Judas Curse. Even if you have seen it, have another look and boost the view numbers for when the Kickstarter promo campaign happens.
That’s my main news, what else? I’m doing a couple of cabaret songs at The Symi Gallery on Saturday night, 6.30 onwards, as part of The Scary Show which is based around the artwork the children created during their winter art lessons, run by Ian Haycox and organised by the Symi Women’s Association. I believe there is live music tonight in the village and possibly tomorrow night as well, Neil has a photo walk on Sunday, with bookings already but still spaces if you are here and fancy a stroll through the Pedi valley on Sunday morning. The weather has gone from windy to still and misty all day and the view this morning is a bright silver sea mist with Nimos half hidden and no sign of Turkey. Calm and still though and looks set to hit 30 degrees at least.