Thursday, 19 May 2022

Taverna

 First taverna visit of the summer season. We celebrated our 43 wedding anniversary.  My traditional greek husband and I went to eat at a traditional greek island taverna beside the sea.  One of our favourites.  The owner is a great friend.  The view is across the harbour to the mainland and  closer is the classical building of the Naval  training Base.  We discuss with the waiter not only what's hot in the kitchen but how we all got through the winter and the health of both our families.


Later on our older daughter and son-in-law join us for a happy hour or so of chit-chat, sea food and the taverna's fresh cooked zucchini chips with a spicy feta dip.  The wine was the taverna's best local.  With a bit of soda and sprite it slipped down quicker than it should have. 


Looking across the the Navy training school


What the tourists eat.  Moussaka, stuffed tomatoes or meatballs and a greek salad


Looking in from the road.  The lighting is dim.  It was right on dusk.  Early for greeks who prefer to dine late but a good time for us who linger


A table right on the water.  We chose to sit a little further inside protected from the wind by a plastic curtain.  We got the view without the chill.  No hot summer heat yet

Sunday, 15 May 2022

zouzounia

Zouzounia are bugs and flying things.  It's a word used often by a greek Yiayia to describe an overactive grandchild.

The summer bugs have started to appear.  Last night we had the first  mosquito of the season buzzing round our bed and I had to get up and plug in the mosquito repellant device.  In an older part of the house as I was doing some cleaning I heard the soft 'click click' of a small lizard.  Unfortunately the mosquito wasn't in the same room.  The lizard, a gecko I think, could have had a nice meal.


The big black ants have surfaced in the garden.  They mainly stay there.  The tiny ants that are hardly larger than tealeaves haven't appeared out of the walls yet.  I suppose we will see them just before the next rain.  The smaller ants are a harbinger of bad weather.  What we don't want are the red ants which give a very nasty nip.


Daddy Long Legs drift up and down the big balcony doors. It always amuses me when certain locals remark how big the 'mosquitoes' are this year. 


As I mentioned in another post this is the year of the snail and the caterpillar. The latter are turning into yellow and white butterflies. They flutter around the geranium flowers. 


In the last few years we have had hordes of praying mantisses, grasshoppers and other jumpers. They are not around yet or maybe this is not their year. 


There are no flies or wasps yet. I have found a few frogs in the garden, hiding in dark corners. I hope they don't disappear.


We were talking with a neighbour last night about the wild life here. When we first bought this house the fields were full of partridges and pheasants.  Now there are none.

We still hear birdsong in the early morning and we've seen a few swallows. There used to be a lot of blackbirds who trilled at dawn but they are few and far between.  Most of the birds are magpies, a few sparrows and we still see a hawk or two hanging in the sky searching for prey.


Spiders are always around. I can tell that by the darn spider webs hanging in every corner, big, black from the fire, and sagging undecoratively. The house badly needs a spring clean.


The carpets need taking up and cleaning, the outdoor spaces need to be water blasted ready for summer living, winter clothes have to be packed away.


Give me a glass of red wine, quickly. Fill it up with ice. It's too warm to drink at room temperature .








Wednesday, 11 May 2022

Inside Out

Nothing much has been happening around here.  Warm days.  One coffee downtown.  Plenty of foreign tourists around and some of the semi-permanent ex-pats have returned for the summer.  


One of the family homes.  

 The terrace has been turned into an outdoor room, covered by a skylight which protects from rain and lets in the light.




Molly the old english sheep dog surveys her new  territory


Poppi fills up Papou's glass with cold.....water!
That table top is an incredibly heavy piece of beautiful marble








Outdoor decor


The heavy old furniture gets a new life

Love those dolphins

Sunday, 8 May 2022

BBQ

 The weather is finally warm enough for a little outdoor eating


K sits down and leaves the grilling to his son in law


Chief BBQer and sometimes bottle washer
My sons-in-law are good guys.  They always clean up afterwards and haul away the rubbish





On the menu
Grilled squid and grilled fish in an olive oil and lemon sauce
Accompanied by boiled greens
And wine

Thursday, 5 May 2022

Whats Up. Gardening version

I have been watching prepping-your-garden videos for weeks now getting ready to plant a few tomatoes, green peppers and aubergines.

About two months ago I dug trenches in my garden area.  Very small trenches.  I filled them with household scraps and then covered them with soil.  6 weeks later all those scraps had turned to compost and the soil is ready for planting.  I've been adding pureed egg shells and banana skins, coffee grounds, a small amount of ash and some other 'natural' fertiliser.  I did the same in half a dozen pots, compost on the bottom, soil on top and  I've done a good mixing of soil and compost soil.  Now I wait to see if the plants like this combo.  I have planted 3 tomatoes, one pepper and one aubergine, 2 basil plants and 3 pumpkin/squash.   I'm waiting for more plants from our neighbour, elderly Vaso's son, who grows his own from last years seeds. He has taken over from Vaso, tending the land so he and Vaso can live off it's bounty.


The garden seems to have an awful lot of snails this year.  I thrown them all over into next doors driveway.  They haven't arrived from blighty yet and the driveway is a snails' jungle paradise.   The other thing we seem to have a lot of this year is caterpillars.  I'm finding them everywhere, in the garden and all around.  I presume they  will turn into cabbage white butterflies or their yellow cousin.  Whatever they are they get squashed.


The wilder part of the garden with the remainder of my wonderful nasturtiums and the picturesque and rusting wheelbarrow



The grapevine seems to be enjoying the compost.  Looks like we may get a decent crop of grapes this summer.  Last year there were quite a few but they withered and dried before they had time to ripen



One of the basil plants
Mint in the garden behind it




My rose geranium
I make a liqueur with red wine from its leaves and flowers
I cut it right back to the ground a few weeks ago but it too is growing well, loving the 'natural' fertiliser


This plant with the white flowers is called a 'pascalia' in Greek and flowers near easter.  I've had it for almost 5 years and this is the first time it has flowered
The english translation seems to be lilac




Our neighbour's lilac.  His really is a lilac colour and it smells wonderful


I don't know what these magnificent trumpet like flowers are
They are growing outside a taverna we visited last week
















Tuesday, 3 May 2022

Fish on a Tile

 A tuna sort of fish baked in the oven on a roof tile.


The head is cut off and it's given a good wash to get rid of all the blood.  And it's gutted of course.  Then onto that roof tile, a few slices of lemon, and that's fresh oregano.  Into the oven for 40 minutes and it's ready ....almost

Once it's cooked and cooled a little.  I have to take out the backbone and remove the tail.  I break up what's left and put it into a deep dish.  Then I make an oil and lemon sauce with a little salt, mustard and dried oregano.  This is poured over the fish and we are ready to go.  It's eaten preferably with a green leafy salad or some sort of boiled greens.

The only part I don't like is the darker meat .  It is very strong and fishy.  Fortunately there's not too much of that and I can separate it from the rest of the flesh. K enjoys the stronger taste.

Gordon Ramsey once got served steak on a roof tile on his show Kitchen Nightmares.  

Photo thanks to BuzzFeed.com 

He was a  bit confused by it all and as you can see the restaurant owner received  the classic 'f' reaction.  But apparently the steak was the toughest, chewiest filet mignon he had ever tried . 

Not exactly fine dining and a waste of good steak.  But fish on a tile, well, that's another story and it does not get served on the tile!   

Sunday, 1 May 2022

May Day

 A public holiday, supposedly for workers but workers here were labouring overtime. Because May Day falls on Sunday it has been transferred to Monday, another 3 day weekend. The island is full again.


The weather has been warm but changing now. Looks as though Monday is going to be grey and wet. Not cold though.


Most of our covid restrictions come to an end today. Hooray.


Traditionally there are protest marches, riots and Molotov cocktails in Athens. Workers march for better conditions and pay. I'm waiting to see the news and see what's happened this year.


Traditionally we pick wild flowers and make a wreath to hang on the front door. Last year my wreath ended up as a big bouquet and I hung it on the front gate. I did the same this year. There were plenty of bright flowers in the neighbourhood but I've  lost the knack of forming the wreath and fixing the flowers. I used to cut a bendy olive branch as the base. I just couldn't get it to form a circle and the string I was using was nylon and slippery. 



My bouquet.