Another day of being at home yesterday (apart from another rehearsal for the show on Saturday) so not a lot to report.
I can report that I only discovered yesterday that the floor in our front room is very similar to the floor at The Opera House hall, and the tap shoes don’t mark the tiles, like they do in the sitting room. I don’t know why I didn’t try it before. But I was able to clack trough the routine a couple of times during the afternoon. For some reason my shin muscles gave out half way through and I was unable to move my ankles. Don’t know why that should suddenly happen now when it’s been fine for months. I warmed up and everything… Hmm. Will keep working on it.
On a completely different note: Don’t forget that if you are planning your summer holiday and want something special then Symi is the place to visit. Just thinking ahead to what there will be to do in the village (that’s aside from the beaches and boats and Yialos and walks) there will be: Photo walks from us of course, plus Monday evening wine nights at the shop and gallery, live music nights at the Taverna and probably at kafeneion such as The Secret Garden where they regularly have live bouzouki music, and Mandeios perhaps, no doubt there will be events at The Sunrise as well, and I am pretty sure the Olive Tree will be hosting all kinds of things again. I am not sure if the museum is open again this year, or if the repair/renovation works have been finished, I will enquire when next heading that way.
And that’s on top of the usual festivals and church events such as Koukoumas (usually around May 1st) that take place. We shall as usual cover as many of those events as possible. And as for the Symi Festival 2013, well, again I’m waiting to hear about that. I have a feeling it could be local events only again like last year due to funding, but I am speculating. Watch this space.
So, plenty to do, plenty for folk of all ages, lots to see and do and lots of unhurried sunshine to look forward to.
The wind died down a little yesterday, though there was no ferry in on Monday night due to storm force winds out at sea. I was at the Opera House for a quick tap rehearsal, which I didn’t do very well, and I am back there tomorrow in the hope of doing better. The show is on Saturday evening at 6pm if anyone is around and wants to come and see. It’s free to get in, there are children of all ages dancing tap, ballet and jazz and the bar will be open.
Meanwhile, I’m still trying to work out what’s going on with the royal nose. That’s the Alarm Cat nose. He’s had a small black spot on it for a while and I read that it was a fungal thing. I put some Lamasil on it for a day or two and it started to get better. I carried on with the treatment, as you’re told to do, you know, even when it gets better you finish the course, and the thing came back again. Apparently these things go away on their own sometimes so unless I can think of any other ideas he may just have to sit it out. It’s not causing him any problems though, he’s still his cheery old self. At least he is happy when he is being unhappy, complaining about the lateness of breakfast and wanting to sit on laps all the time. Mind you he is getting on.
Do cat years work the same as dog years I wonder? Seven to one is it? If so, he is 70 now.
Meanwhile: people are starting to return to Symi; the ferry did come in today bringing Tina back to the Olive Tree and Gerry and Sue for six months, Penny arrives soon, and others are on their way for Easter. Before long we will be saying ‘where did that winter go then?’ Mind you, it was back for a while this morning. I went to put the washing out and there was a definite cold snap in the air, just like you notice in later November.
As you can probably tell, I spent Tuesday at home so haven’t seen anyone and don’t have any great news. There are still plans afoot for the “film to be made on Symi” idea to progress. More news on that will follow, and it looks like (at the moment) we may be able to make an announcement within the next few months. The company will be asking for people to put their money where their dreams are and help towards raising finance; that’s if the project gets the go ahead from the production company. All a bit shrouded in mystery at the moment, but then it is a thriller/horror we are working on. More news in due course.
I am pleased to report that the weekend did work out as planned: dance rehearsal, crosswords, photos walk for Neil and birthday party on Sunday.
Here’s one of Neil’s photos taken on his walk. There is a page about the walks (click here) which will give you some more information. But the best thing to do is pop into the Symi Dream shop when you are here and have a chat. As well as leading a regular Sunday morning photo walk, Neil is able to take parties of three or more on other days.
As for the routes, well, there are now four routes on offer, and Neil will let you know which one he has booked. If you have a preference, get in there first and make a booking. You can always email Neil directly using his shop email address firstname.lastname@example.org, or use the contact email address in the right sidebar under the shop video >>
The four routes are:
Pedi valley, from the shop along the road to the top of the valley and then down and through, coming out at Pedi from where you can get the bus back or carry on, on your own, for swimming or more walking or a visit to one of the beaches.
Lower Horio, around the lanes from the shop and around the base of the Kastro for views towards Yialos, and then a few more village lanes and back to the village square.
Upper Horio, a walk through some of the smaller, narrower and lesser known lanes to see the features and photograph all manner of things. Up to and beyond the museum, through the ruins and back to the road, or back down through the village.
Evening Mouse Castle, an evening walk up to the windmills and the mouse castle to see the sun set over Yialos.
The walks cost only €10.00 per person, evening walk departure time varies through the season, the others all start from the Symi Dream shop at 9.15 in the morning, so anyone coming from Yialos can get the bus up. The morning walks take around two to three hours, depending on numbers, and none of the walks are particularly strenuous though steps will be involved. (Not the old pop group.) You are advised to bring water, a hat, wear sensible shoes and make sure your camera batteries are charged. You don’t have to be a photographer and any kind of camera can be used. It’s not a lesson or anything, Neil shows you how he takes photos, and you’ll end up seeing Symi from a different angle. You can also come on the walk just for the walk and the chat.
Like I say, call in to the shop and have a chat when you get here. These walks are very popular!
“Thanks for a brilliant morning – great walk (should never have found that path down to Pedi on my own), good company and lots of useful advice on taking photographs.”
I really am getting ahead of myself today. It’s Saturday. I know, you are reading this on Monday, but I am writing it while I wait for Neil to finish making cards in the shop. I’m still working from here as there is still no internet on at home. And, last night for the first time, I used the ‘scheduler’ on my WordPress dashboard: Saturday’s post was written on Friday before the tap dance rehearsal, and the scheduler was set to publish it this morning. So I was blogging in my sleep, literally. And that’s what happening with this post too.
Apparently the Symi internet issue should be sorted soon, for most people. It’s only been seven days for us and luckily we had the wireless access at the shop. According to one source OTE, the provider, are upgrading older lines, so our home 2Mb thing should become a sparkling 24Mb thing when they have finished. According to another source they are doing 100 lines a day (which would make 700 done by now, out of…?), according to another source no one at OTE seems to know what’s going on. So it’s a case of wait and see.
The tap class went well. Actually it was more of a run through for running order and so all the cast were there. (Was there?) There are 16 dance routines and a finale all choreographed by the rather talented Rhiannon and danced by some also rather talented dancers aged from about three to an age we don’t ask or assume. And then there’s me, the only man in the company tapping around like something out of Fantasia.
In the Symi Dream shop, Neil is now making up cards and has already taken bookings for his photo walks, so this year is getting off to a nice start. There’s a wedding booked for Easter Monday (so no wine night that night, I’ll let you know when they start), and the shop is now painted up and the new stock is in. The calendars are on their way, as are new copies of Symi 85600, and Carry on up the Kali Strata is also in stock.
The shop opposite us, which has been a store room for several years, is also now being done up by its owner. It is going to be rented out as an herb shop apparently. A source of herbal teas and maybe coffee beans, natural herb products perhaps? It’s looking good and the folk on our part of the steps are now saying ‘we are turning this little area into a piazza.’ I thought he said pizza and perked up, but then I worked it out. So, on a Monday night while supping a wine from our gallery, and purchasing exclusive photo-things from our shop, you will also be able to stock up on your herbs while you get your PC looked at by Kon before popping up to the Olive Tree now only a few doors up, buying some flowers from Valantis en route. We’re not sure what’s happening with the Kali Strata Bar (the bar with the view) this year, but if it doesn’t open you can also get a view from the Olive Tree terrace,. And soon, thanks to a cross border agreement between Symi Dream and The Olive Tree you will also be able to send a fax from there. The only place in the village where you can fax from, apparently.
Babbling on so will get on with the rest of the weekend: walk to town for exercise, chicken salad dinner, crosswords this afternoon, housework tomorrow, barbeque in the afternoon, back to work on Monday at the shop if no internet. By that time this will have been published automatically and we shall see how it all worked out.
Yesterday, April 12th, teachers, parents and children from Symi schools gathered to protest against proposed changes in the education system in Greece. The government are planning to cut the number of teachers by combining classes. But also by combining the years, so children of different ages will take the same classes together. How would that work? No idea.
Rachael Papacalodouca of the PTA writes: “Todays demonstration was a big success the two Primary schools and the two kindergartens were closed and even the High School came to support our cause. We marched around the square twice and then went up to the Mayor’s office in the Town Hall where phone calls were made to the local minister of the area who is supporting us. Our video coverage has been sent to the major TV channels and should make the news. Apparently we are the first to make such a demonstration so let’s hope we have set the example for other small islands and villages. Let’s hope our small island has made enough noise to be heard!”
Neil had some shots up on the wonder web by midday yesterday. We also took some video; there’s a quick clip here and a gallery of 30 photos here.
Here’s some important news for all British Ex-pats living in Greece.
From 15 April 2013, British nationals in Greece will submit passport applications to IPS in the UK for processing. All the information needed to complete the passport application process will be available on the website at https://www.gov.uk/overseas-passports
More on that change can be found on the Gov.UK site by clicking here.
The last time I renewed my passport it was from Symi. I’d heard that things were changing and there might be issues around what kind of photo paper was used, how the image was taken and so on, so I consulted the Embassy in Athens and the department who then dealt with applications. ‘Are there any specification for the photos?’ I asked, to which the very nice lady replied, ‘We don’t really mind dear, as long as they don’t look homemade.’
Those were the days eh? Since then there has been a period where applications had to go to Spain for some reason, but now we’re back to sending them back to the UK. Neil has to send his off soon, a year ahead of schedule but it’s getting a bit worn, so we should be able to report back, one day, on how this new process works. Sending mine to Athens in 2006, I think it was, took three weeks during which time the nice lady phoned me up to apologise for the delay.
I’m getting ahead of myself again by writing this morning’s blog last night. And last night (that’s the night before I am writing this, so two days ago from today, which is actually tomorrow…), on Wednesday:
On Wednesday, after an exhausting but rewarding tap dance class and rehearsal for the show on Saturday 20th April (more about that in due course no doubt), I tapped my way down the steps to meet Neil in the harbour; we had a photo assignment to finish off, pictures of a new hotel and some night shots. And more about that in due course as well. We had a drink with half the town council and the mayor, well, we sat beside them and all but joined in the discussion, before taking some shots of Yialos by night. And then, at some time around ten, we walked back up again. The bus is in Rhodes at the moment.
Here’s a Symi thing: we dropped the equipment off at the shop and thought we’d call in at the Rainbow for a nightcap after our long climb. The only two people to whom I owe money were sat there. (Our landlord, the rent was due today/yesterday, and the computer fixer.) Owing money is clearly not an issue as they bought us a drink.
The Rainbow bar is being painted up at the moment by Ian Spalding painting and decorating Ltd. And regulars will notice a few subtle changes when they next call in: new bamboo (no idea what happened to me old bamboo, I think someone wrote a song about it, it got big headed and left town), and new doors where the curtains used to be, and a new air conditioning unit, mainly for the winter I think. Everything else is, as far as I know, going to be the same.
And today, the boss and I took a walk around the upper parts of Horio, checking out a new photo walk route or two and getting some general snaps which will be appearing here over the next few days and on into the future as I replace my ‘spare pics to post’ folder. Jack had a good birthday, getting cream rubbed onto his nose to get rid of a black spot and lounging in the sun or under the clothes horse.
April 11th is a day of anniversaries in our house. As well as being the date on which my father died, it’s Neil’s daughter’s birthday, so happy birthday Charlene, 25 today! (She was only Sam’s age when I first met her, nine.) It’s also the day I gave up smoking two years ago, and I reckon that’s one stone for every year! And, most importantly in our house, it’s Jack the Alarm Cat’s birthday. So he’ll be getting something special this evening. A worming tablet, or a squirt of ear mite cream or something. Anyway. On with the blog.
I’m told that the parts of the island without the internet could be without the internet for up to 10 days. So, if you are waiting on an email from a Symi holiday business or similar, it may be a good idea to phone them instead. I also heard it won’t be that long, that OTE are improving the system, things are being upgraded and also that no one knows what’s going on.
Here’s another blog post written the night before it happens as I will have to go to the shop in the morning to post it, by the looks of things. If so then this will be the fifth day without access to the internet for many people on Symi. I know it’s not as bad as no water, or no boats, or no doctor, but it’s also very frustrating.
I’ve set up temporary camp in the Symi Dream Gallery among the exhibits from the Symi Gallery which were stored there for the winter. I was doing some work there on Tuesday during the day and in the evening, and as usual, storing it all on an external HD, so I could transfer it to the PC at home, which currently isn’t working. For some reason last night I thought I would also copy the work onto the laptop’s main HD, and start having a backup that way too.
So, after finishing the piece on Tuesday I went to upload it to someone’s site for them only to find that site wasn’t working properly, so I let them know. I looked at it again this morning and it was still not working correctly so I carried on writing something else. A couple of hours’ later and one of my everyday programmes suddenly stopped working. So I rebooted, hoping that would clear the problem. It didn’t and what’s’ worse the laptop (I’m in the gallery again, the PC is still not working) wouldn’t actually shut down. I forced the shutdown, rebooted in safe mode, checked the programme and that was fine. While I’m about it, I thought, I would transfer the morning’s writing to the laptop like I did the night before. Only to find that the folder I’d ben storing it in was ‘empty.’
Investigations showed that the portable HD, the backup (the new backup) was malfunctioning and everything on it is now inaccessible. Luckily I had Thursday’s work saved, but I was then another two hours at the gallery rewriting everything I’d been writing in the morning and seething a bit under the collar. The laptop works fine now without the HD plugged in. Ah, I thought, perhaps that’s what’s been causing the fault with the PC. Dashing home hopefully I turned the PC on an it was fine. But still without internet.
After lunch I tried the PC again and… nothing, so it’s still bust and there’s something wrong there and there’s no external HD with all my work on it, a repeat of what happened last year. I’m going to only use ‘cloud’ storage like Dropbox in the future. But I can’t do that at the moment as we are still not able to connect to the internet.
That’s it! I’ve had enough! Tomorrow, after posting this, I am going to go right back to basics and have nothing more to do with technology. I’ll draw water from the well with a bucket, darn socks, and keep chickens, I’ll build my own generator and plough the garden, I’ll barter for food I can’t grow and go to bed with the dusk, get up with the dawn, and never even use electricity. Mind you, I have no idea how to do any of these things so I will have to Google it all to find out.
Am back at the shop of an evening and using Neil’s wireless do-dah to get tomorrow morning’s blog post ready so that if our home internet is still not on, I can just sail down here and plug in and click a button. He’s on one side of the room online and I am on the other and we are not sending each other messages via Facebook! We are not. We don’t do that kind of thing!!
I have though downloaded this image from him. It’s an advert from Dodekanisos Seaways. You will find more about it at their site but we were told about it when at Plaza Travel the other day. Have a look at the website where you will find more details including 50% discounts on Symi-Rhodes-Symi routes for cars and 30% for commercial vehicles. There are other offers on other routes as well.
There is the possibility of a seamen’s strike on April 16th though, so keep an eye out for that.
Doing a quick catch-up on other Symi sites and news:
Symi Animal Welfare has its site going from strength to strength.
Adriana’s blog is keeping us up to date with news from around the island, the recent bad weather and what’s growing where.
EPOSymi reports on Earth hour and other environmental issues that affect the island
And Symi Best is still keeping everyone updated with shops, accommodation, holiday companies, business and everything else you want in a listings site.
I was going to go on but Neil’s just emailed me from across the room and so I need to go and see to that. (Only joking!) Actually it’s quite nice sitting here watching the tourist go by (actually, a few so far this evening) and saying hello to everyone else heading up and down the Kali Strata. Makes me look forward more to our wine nights that will start again… consults diary… on Easter Monday, 6th May though there may be a wedding job on that night – we’re waiting to hear about that one.