Sunday, 11 November 2018

Sunday in the Sun

A beautiful autumn day today. 

 A tough old rooster is slowly stewing on the outside gas stove.  We'll boil rice in the juices.  The tastiest rice you can imagine , full of flavour with a  little olive oil, lemon juice and lots of pepper added to the mix.  

The, hopefuly by now tender,  meat gets liberal squirts of lemon juice, a sprinkle of good fresh olive oil ( the first press of this years olive harvest) , and lots of fresh ground pepper.  A rustic meal with local sourdough bread and liberal doses of last years wine (it's Sunday so we can drink an extra glass or two).  The rooster was almost local. He came from a small rural 'farm' with goats and rabbits, just down the road, up the hill and round the corner .   Oh and a typical greek cabbage salad with a couple of cloves of garlic, carrot, celery and our own lemons.  The garlic will keep vampires and loved ones at bay for a few days.

Enough of the food.  Being a blog written in Greece the food always come first. Or almost first, behind the wine.

The men are outside in the sunshine happily fiddling with men-things 

In Athens the 'Authentic Marathon' (Classic Marathon I think we would call it)  has started.  42 odd kilometres from the town of Marathon, site of the 490BC battle between Greeks and Persians, to the Kallimarmaro (beautiful marble) Stadium in central Athens

The marathon finish line

Marathon start line

Thousands and thousands of runners from all over the world.  The first Kenyans and Ethiopians have already crossed the finish line in just over 2 hours.  
28 kilometres behind are hundreds of runners, many of them walking after their first 14ks but pushing on hoping to finish whatever time it takes.  We just saw a lady from Rotorua NZ with nordic sticks.

Marathons and triathlons are popular all over Greece.  Even Poros has it's own Triathlon.  The longest 'marathon' is the Spartathlon. This is an Ultra race, 250kms, from Athens to Sparta following the path taken by Pheidippides who ran from Athens to the city state of Sparta . 

If you're an athlete then put Greece on your running calendar

Kali sas mera
Good Sunday to you all

Thursday, 8 November 2018


Korinthos (Corinth)
Big city half an hour north of Athens

site of
- the ruins of the city of ancient Kornith
- Apostle Paul  preached here and wrote his 'First and Second Corinthians' to the Christians of the city

Corinth Canal  6.4kms (4 miles) long.  You can bungy jump off that bridge (or one of the others), if you wanted to.  

Corinth is just under an hour an a half from Poros but not one of our favourite cities.  We go there if necessary to visit the hospital or shop at the big store called Jumbo.  Both are on the outskirts thank goodness.  We don't have to navigate through the one way streets and new pedestrian thoroughfares, a skill which even our GPS hasn't mastered.

We had to take a friend to the train station outside Corinth one Sunday and decided bravely to drink a coffee in the town, somewhere.  Sunday morning,  Shouldn't be too much traffic, no problem finding parking.  Yeh, right.  After glimpsing the sea at the end of one dead end street and the central square over the centre isle of trees and going round in circles we finally went the wrong way down a one way street and found parking near a street of coffee houses.

Fisherman's wharf
The little fishing boats had just come in and the catch was being sold on the wharf with a small crowd of onlookers

one of the squares has a huge fountain complex and a bigger than life size statue of Pegasus, the pure white, winged stallion of the greek myths
That's me sitting there

Ancient Greek on a grassy knoll
I didn't get close enough to find out who he was
and was surprised there wasn't an obvious plaque to tell me
So many ancients

Boat repairs on a vacant lot

After coffee we drove up into the hills to a small village taverna in search of a rustic Sunday lunch.

Village in the hills 
Tiny village, huge church and the sea on the far horizon

Not quite what we expected however.  The meat seemed to have been roasted at least a day before and warmed up.  The homemade sausage was full of gristle and an overwhelming herb.  We ate the cabbage salad, tzatziki, toasted (bread is toasted when it is stale) and washed it down with a litre of local wine (drinkable)

28 euros and a free dessert
The price was good and the semolina cake was free and fresh 
It wasn't a complete washout but we won't be returning

Too close to the edge  after a kilo of wine

Monday, 5 November 2018

Early morn

Poros Harbour early on an autumn morning

I never miss a photo opportunity.  We were clambouring up narrow steps  at 7.30am to give blood for our annual tests.  The results were excellent.  Everything well into the normal range.  No blood sugar overload, no cholesterol problems.  Here everyone is a medical expert.  We don't wait for the doctor to give us a call and tell us to come down to 'discuss' the findings.  We give blood at a 'mikroviologiko' (microbiologist) clinic and next day go in and receive an envelope with the results.  Maria, our friendly blood-taker gives us a brief summary and then we go off and study the numbers ourselves and sometime we will probably take the papers to our doctor so he can see and 'tut-tut' or praise.

Coffee is the next necessity of the day. Soon the whole of Poros
knows  where we've been and there are long discussions on health and welfare which continue onto grumbles about the economy, pension cuts and the size of the fish caught recently. 

This shows the width of the strait between Poros and mainland Greece.  Photo taken from the balcony of the blood clinic

Looking the other way we can see the visiting naval vessel
The crew are mapping the coastline

The back streets up above the harbour

There is no access here for cars or bikes of any sort.  Everything must be carried up and down some quite steep steps and along the alleyways.  

A narrow passage

Steps leading down into the harbour and the cafeterias

                         At last we can drink a morning coffee

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Family Feasting

Happy family

The immediate family indulging in some feasting

Smile, you're on candid camera

Remembering the rest of our extended family missing from this feast
Cheers big ears
Same goes big nose

A cup of 'tea' anyone

Nana, enough with the photos

Perched around the table

O Tzatzikios...the boy who loves tzatziki

And the men party on

Eat, play, work
Sorting out the store cupboard, putting away the summer paraphernalia . 

Treadmill games
How far can you run further in 5 minutes.  Whose gonna win?  Well, that's obvious, that one at the back with the longest legs.  The game kept them out of mischief for half an hour.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

No, No, No

No, no, no, Mussolini, you will not invade and occupy Greece.  

On the 28th October 1940 the Italians issued an ultimatum to Greece, demanding free passage into the country and occupation of strategic areas.

The Greek Prime Minister replied 'Alors, c'est la guerre'.

The next morning Italy invaded over the Greek-Albanian border.  Greek forces fought them back over the mountain border in the harshest of winter conditions, women hauling food and ammunition.  The Italians were chased back into Albania and the battle became the first land defeat for Germany in WW11. Eventually in 1941  Hilter sent in the German occupation army who took over the country until the end of the war.  It was 1945 when the last garrisons of Germans were cleared from Aegean islands and Crete.

My father took part in the clean-up of the islands.  He was in the British Fleet Air Arm,  Captain of a  motor launch (ML1252) working with Greek commandos to ensure German troops had evacutated, island by island.

ML 1252 December 1944

Churchill recognised the bravery and determination of the Greeks saying
'Hence we will not say that Greeks fight like heroes but that heroes fight like Greeks'.

Today we celebrate this victory,  known as 'OHI DAY' (No, Day), with a military parade and fly past in the northern city of Thessaloniki, capital of  Greek Macedonia.  Every household should have the Greek flag flying. Every city, island, village will be having its own parade, wreath laying and official speeches.

Poros school children 
In local costume

28th of October is a national holiday in Greece and Cyprus and there will be parades in cities in the United States and Australia where there are large communities of people with greek heritage

Happy Birthday Paul
Wishing you many more years with good health and happiness

Friday, 26 October 2018

Family Feasting ... preparation

It has been some time since I wrote about a family feast.  
We had a gathering of our immediate clan last weekend
Lots of preparations and lots of leftovers
We'll be eating well this week

Cheese pie in a roll
Instead of making one big pie or lots of little triangles I made long rolls and curved them round the baking dish like a snake.  Delicious any way.  Homemade filling was very simple,  Just crumbled feta cheese, an egg, a few spoons of bechamel sauce and chopped mint.  Sometimes I use nutmeg instead of mint.  The pastry was ready made very thin filo.

Snails alive alive o
Getting their last rites

Snails in the pot
Stewed with tomatoes, onion and garlic

Snails fried
with garlic, oil, salt, vinegar and rosemary
The men loved these and ate most of them as an appetiser with a glass of raki.
These ones were not from our garden. 

Made with vine leaves I had blanched and frozen last spring

Ready to go in the oven
The smaller loaf has lots of grated gouda to melt inside

Plain and with cheese

Pavlova before decoration.
I made aioli again, the garlic mayonaise
Leftover egg whites were used to make a pavlova
I haven't made a pavlova in many, many years.  Usually I just eat them. It is really a very easy sweet to make and this one was devoured quickly

Pavlova going going gone

This is only some of the food that went out on the table.  We had to have pork of course.  K made a dish of baked meats.  Chunks of chicken, lamb and pork roasted in the oven with potatoes.  The coleslaw was one of our best.  It had apple, walnut, grated carrot, celery and cabbage in the salad then some whiskey in the sauce

The End

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

New Season Out of the Sun

Winter's a Coming

Wild cyclamens
Clumps of pink cyclamens decorate the sides of the roads

25 Snails

A friend told me recently that ash from the fireplace keeps away snails.  What a load of codswallop.  Our garden gets liberal dosings of wood ash every winter.  This winter we have an infestation of snails, along with the usual oxalis/clover/sorrel.  I uprooted the basil in this pot and there were 25 snails hidng inside.  Everywhere, EVERYWHERE, there are hordes of snails. We won't go hungry this winter, if I could be bothered collecting them.  I don't kill them, just throw them over the fence.  Never into Vaso's land I might add

The back garden has been cleared, dug deep and planted so far with lettuces, onions and rocket

More lettuces in the front garden
These are in a planter made out of half an old plastic wine barrel.  I planted them this way thinking maybe I could halt the tide of weeds.  We shall see.  More lettuces are in the garden next to it and already the oxlalis is popping up all over the place although I weed almost every day.

The old wheelbarrow is still useable but rarely necessary in such a small area. I stuck a pot of oregano in there. It really needs a pot of flowers which tumble over the sides. Flowers are a bit of a rarity at this time of the year. 

My new compost bin
These old tyres were another idea to separate the plants from the clover. The clover took over.
I'll fill it with compost waste till spring and then turn it into a big pot for a couple of tomatoes or peppers