Friday, 31 July 2020

Another Swim

We went down to our local beach again next day for another swim.  Earlier this time.  No-one else around when we arrived but they soon started gathering.  It was a completely different crowd though.  A friend of my daughters' and her brood, cousins and relatives and fishermen friends.    

We had a cool dip, got a bit of exercise and K spent so much time exchanging news with fishermen friends, bob-bob-bobbing in the sea, that he got quite badly sunburnt on his neck and shoulders.  

I had grabbed a place on the one and only bench and  caught up on daughters' friends and their brood and read the magazine I found in the beach bag

Friendly invasion

Fisherman getting ready to fish

The magazine I found in my bag.  2018
NZ Womens Day
I couldn't remember any of the showbiz gossip, didn't even know who the people were but the crosswords were only half done.  I suppose that's why I hadn't thrown it out.  Or maybe it was the recipes.  Except for NZ flavour there isn't much else.  I always ask our downunder visitors to bring a local magazine with them.  A bit of the feeling of home

Looking down at the bay
No wonder it attracts so many people.  But there is nothing there.  The beach canteen has been dismantled.  No more cold coffees or beers.  No shade unless you carry an umbrella

K grabbed hold of one of the local (as in our neighbour) councilmen and told him to put up 3 or 4 benches along the beach and a few of those wispy 'palm tree' umbrellas.  The beach needs a spruce up now the canteen has gone.  Elsewhere on the island there are benches and now on 2 or 3 of the beaches there are special ramps for wheel chairs.  Well done, Poros municipality.  Continue with that good work.  Much as I hate the summer invasion, it is what the islanders live on.  

The greek tourists that fill up the hotels and car parks on the island are tourists that stay in the big hotels and spend money.  They drive around from their villas in the northern suburbs of Athens and they rightly want to enjoy beach, sun and sea.  A swim in clean waters, a table right beside the waves, with a view of the lights of Poros for evening dining and an open air bar to drink a few cocktails in the wee hours.

Keep them happy and we are all happy, all year round

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

A Swim

We went for our first swim in the sea this summer. The  sea is just below us, enticing. Well we finally made it.

I thought it was cold and took 10 minutes to take the plunge. K just dived straight in. It was very refreshing after a morning of heat and sweat, once I got in completely.

It was deserted when we arrived and then one of K's fisherman friends came to check on  his boat and he dived in as well. He and K caught up on the local fishing gossip. I did a slow crawl.

I got out just in time.

I grabbed my spot on the bench just as the invasion began.

3 families with dozens of small and larger boys, plus 3 elderly women who thought they should have the rest of my bench, never mind any viruses.

The, greek, women went straight into the water so there was no need for argument about social spacing on 'my' bench.

Greek tourists. To na kanoume. We need them.

It's quite a large bay but everyone wants to swim down our end of the beach because it has shade from overhanging trees, there is sand, not rocks as you wade in, and the water is calm even in strong winds.

Next time we will go a little earlier and leave before the crowds. Maybe

It was a refreshing first swim. We should have started months ago

Friday, 24 July 2020


PAros not POros

Cosmopolitan Paros.  One of the islands in the group known as the Cyclades. Most of the houses are a traditional blue and white. It has sandy beaches, peaceful villages a good breeze for wind surfing, a lively nightlife, white marble and good wine. Half of my family is down there at the moment visiting other members of the very extended family.

10 minutes away is the smaller island of AntiParos where Tom Hanks and his wife have a villa.

I have never been to Paros but I have been to the next door island of Naxos, also in the Cyclades.  Naxos is known for its tasty cheeses, potatoes and half of the lambs and goats the greeks roast at easter seem to come from there.

A back street in Paros

Shopping in the cool of the evening
until late at night

My athletic grandaughters go windsurfing

A siesta under the trees with a good book soons turns into a deep sleep

Sunset from their villa

Photos by Poppi

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Out to see a Friend

Instead of staying home we've been out and about quite a bit.  Our friends are all like us and have been 'hibernating' away from the hoi polloi.  Now we are finally all socialising a little.  

We took the car ferry across to the mainland and the little town of Galatas.  Masks are no longer required on the ferry boat unless you want to sit inside the upstairs lounge.  No-one ever does unless it's midwinter and there's a freezing wind.  So we sat in our cars this time mask free.

Our friend lives just out of the town with a view looking back towards the island

From her balcony you can see the small island with the Venetian fortress and it's other more ancient relics.  We had many glasses of cold water, without the lemon juice and as the evening cooled down we sat on her balcony, enjoying the breeze called the meltemi and having a small glass of very chilled wine.

The meltemi is a strong northerly and it comes with fire warnings.  There is a fire now just north of us which is being whipped up by the high winds and is threatening several small villages.  

It's at this time of the year that if I think I can smell smoke I'll be out scanning the horizon  making sure we are safe.  Flames move so quickly and can change direction in an instant.

On our way back we had a half hour wait for the return ferry so decided to sit and have another glass of wine and a plate of kalamari while we waited.  We ended up waiting through quite a few departures and got the last boat at 10.30.  We had an evening off the island.  That doesn't happen very often

Our view
A large lorry disembarks

Looking over the waters to Poros

Monday, 20 July 2020

A Neighbourly Drink

We sauntered 20 metres up the road to have drinks with Vaso's son and d-in-law.

This is our view, 20 metres lower down

This is their fabulous view
With cooling breeze

My drink
Cold water with a squeeze of lemon juice
My favourite summer drink. It was so good I had a refill

Saturday, 18 July 2020

Why Do I Do It?

We went down to the market early to get tomatoes, karpuzi (watermelon) and zucchinis. As we were down in the harbour and it was early we  sat for coffee at the 'Green chairs'. There were only three tables with people and they were well spaced. Our friendly waitress was wearing a mask and spraying tables.

Mine was a  freddo espresso.  The others had greek coffee, a single and a double

The Green chairs are right across the road from our 'big' supermarket.  So I popped across to buy bread and some other essentials.

Every time I go down town I say 'never again'.  And yet a few days later there I am again.  

Across at the supermarket it was still early morning and all the oldies who get up early had come down to shop.  There was no-one outside the shop counting heads, the staff, all masked, were still filling shelves and it was slightly chaotic, for us islanders.  There is hand cleanser at the door so I cleansed away and holding on to my cloth shopping bag I started in.  Push, shove, it was a free for all.  I was the only customer wearing a mask and these oldies (older than me anyway) were out to get served first, get the best, or else.  I stood back and let them go.  Some of them I must admit, knew why I was taking a step back and did the same but most of them couldn't care less.  

It was as though we hadn't had all these months of lockdown, cries of indignation now that tourists are bringing in new cases, worry for elderly relatives, endless news broadcasts warning us that we could go into quarantine again.

When I came out there was no hand cleanser at the exit door so I rushed across the road and grabbed the bottle from the cafe table and washed them all away.  

The young are blamed for having wild, overcrowded beach parties.  Come and shop at a Poros 'super' market and you'll see what the oldies are up too.

Last night it was announced that masks are now compulsory in all supermarkets and large shops.  

Religious fiestas are held all over Greece during the summer.  On the 15th August, Assumption Day, the whole country closes down as everyone migrates back to their villages to celebrate their local 'Maria'.  The revelling often goes on for days with, as well as the church services, feasting, drinking, singing and lots of dancing.  The government had decided that these could continue, in some form, this summer.  They changed their mind on that and all 'panagyria', religious festivities, have been banned.  Church services are still allowed, at the moment, with only a certain number allowed inside the church.  The services at our local church are broadcast over loud speakers and there are chairs outside.

Rules are changing.  

We'll see!

Thursday, 16 July 2020

Garlic clove and Porcine snout

Spit three times
Ftoo ftoo ftoo
Shake your bod about
Garlic clove, porcine snout
fire bright
in darkest night
Keep that covid from our door
Quarantine is such a bore

I want to dance and drink retsina
Lazing round the beach cantina
Swim and snorkel in the med
Turning slowly white to red
Eat moussaka and feta cheese
Siesta in a cooling breeze

Spit three times
ftoo ftoo ftoo
To keep away
The dreaded flu
Do as they say
 Stay at home
Leave me alone

  I want to read my latest book
Watch my husband fry and cook
Eat up all his fresh baked fish
A squeeze of lemon on the dish
Lounging by the sun kissed sea
Shaded by the olive tree

Ftoo ftoo ftoo
Stir the cauldron
Frog and newt
Eye of toad and orris root
It's far too hot to worry,  fret
Or wear that mask
But don't forget...

No shaking hands
With anyone from foreign lands
Never even think to hug
Cos you'll pass that bloody bug
No more kissing on the cheek
Even if you're French or Greek
Zorba's dance is still allowed
Just don't do it in a crowd
Keep your space
And you'll be safe