local-kiwi-alien

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

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

Amen































Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Home

This is the area where we live.  There are houses dotted about in the olive groves, some  permanently occupied but many just used in the summer by various family members or during the olive season when the family olives are gathered



Looking down on our house and surrounds
The trees are mainly olive trees.  There are a few carob trees and various citrus.
The two houses on the hill in the distance have never been lived in.  They were built without a proper permit and now almost 20 years later are slowly falling into disrepair. 


The houses on the hill
I've mentioned these before
A great view from up there with the olive groves on one side, the Saronic Gulf with sea all the way to Athens and beyond on the other side
A bit windswept mind





Over there on the horizon is Athens


Our neighbourhood 
We are second on the left.  The others come and go.



The view from our balcony.
We can just see the sea
If that darn cyprus tree wasn't right in the middle and our absent neighbours would trim the olive tree on the right we really would have a sea view.  The grape vine is looking rather wilted because I took the photo in the midday heat





Sunday, 12 July 2020

Twilight



The naval base


Poros Bay



Little fishing  boats bobbing


Ouzo, Alpha, wine or
raki?
 


In the cool of the evening
Time to relax


Friday, 10 July 2020

A Saturday Night

We recently had our first night out.  Saturday night on the town.  Woohoo.  We went down to the main square for a change.  A change for me.  It's the hangout of the oldies, serious debaters and drinkers and K's friends, but not mine.

The owner was spraying down chairs and tables. He and his son wore masks.  

Further down the harbour another 'establishment' was closed for 15 days and fined 15,000 euros for refusing to remove a few tables and distance the rest of them.

                                                  

An early evening photo along the quay



The main square.
Cafeterias on all sides.
A favourite place for families with small children.  The parents can sit here and drink their 'coffee' and let their brood loose to play.  There are crowds of kids later as it cools down. The older generation go up  and down on their peratzatha, that 
 evening stroll, hand in hand, in quiet groups, in rowdy bands.



While children in other countries are going to bed  these kids are just beginning their evening of fun out of the sun






I hadn't had one of these since last summer.
After a few glasses of wine, a lot of socialising with K's cronies at the socially-distanced tables, we went for a souvlaki.

Pita bread wrapped around pork gyro, fried potatoes, lots of raw onion, tomato and tzatziki.  You have to have the bottomless pit of a teenage boy to eat more than one of these.

There are so many 'foreigners', Greeks and otherwise on the island now we have decided to stay up on our mountain and keep out of town for a week or so.

There were 50 news cases yesterday, 27 were imports. Our area is still safe and long may it be.







 












Thursday, 9 July 2020

Traffic Jam



Big trucks in narrow roads.  These roads were made for mules.  Well, not really but they weren't built for this much modern traffic, especially huge articulated lorries.



2 cars can't pass on this road let-alone 2 trucks
This is the big double trailor that takes supplies up to the fish farm




It met the big double tanker coming in to supply our petrol station


Convoy.  Four cars and me had to back down the road and find somewhere to tuck themselves in out of the way.

Then the big fish farm lorry backed down about 50 yards.  The tanker came down and tucked into a side road and off we all went.

Very exciting and I actually remembered to take some photos.

What I really admired was the skill of the fish farm truck.  He backed that 50 yards without even a stop to check on those parked cars.  And there were cars parked on either side of the road.  Those parked cars are what makes the road so narrow.

 He knows what he's doing or he wouldn't have the job.  Both these lorries back onto the car ferry which is a tight enough space. They are put on last, right down the middle.  Both too have very tight manoeuvres where they deliver their goods.  


Us on the ferry


Actually the tanker goes across on an empty car ferry. Darn them. Don't know how many times we've been rushing for the ferry and find it pulling out with a tanker on board. That means waiting while it goes across, disembarks the tanker, and then comes back for the rest of us.



It might have just been a tad more exciting if they had scratched something but, hell, I can't/shouldn't ask for scratch and trouble.   

 An elderly neighbour   
 was driving one of the cars that had to back down and find a place to hideaway.  She did an amazing job too.  She backed straight and clear.  I, on the other hand would have zig-zagged down that road making a fool of myself.  It would have been me that knocked off a few wing mirrors.  

 I got off easily this time perched, on my quad bike. I just enjoyed the show.

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Not a Fair Exchange

Remember our back garden?


As it was after the clean-up


More treasures being removed.
Two more old washing machines.
I might add that these machines had been kept for spare parts and did come in handy.  Time to get rid of them though


                                                     


Another pile to take away

But first


                                                     

There is a new delivery.  50 metres of solid railings removed from a property that is being renovated.  They just need to be sanded and painted.  Then our old rusty, inferior , railings will be removed and hopefully disposed of and these put in their place.

Meantime, we have a new treasure pile, in a neighbour's field.  





Our old roof tiles are now joined by railings


The audience


 



You didn't think that was 'the end'?
Of course not.  The latest treasure is brought in.
Another old hot water cylinder which will be made into another handsome bbq.  K does do a good job with these.  But not till the winter.  It needs a blow torch and blow torches send off sparks.  We don't want any sparks around here.  

So our back yard area now has a 'new' cylinder and a summer table was rescued along with two chairs.











Monday, 6 July 2020

Boris


Boris's Dad actually, Stanley Johnson.  He has returned to his 'beloved' Greece on essential business.  A matter of life or death.  Otherwise why would he leave England, how could he leave England when lockdown rules were for 'essential travel only'.  His crucial piece of business that just couldn't wait?  He came over to 'covid proof' his greek villa so it is ready for the influx of english visitors on July15.

There are no direct flights so he flew to Sofia in Bulgaria  and from there to Athens.  As many others have done I might add.  We have greek friends who were stuck in England during lockdown and as soon as they could, came back to Greece via a similar route.  One came back to work, another to attend a family funeral.  

'I need to set up distancing measures because they take it quite seriously here'  



Don't fret yourself Stanley, father of Boris.  I can see there's plenty of room on your wee Greek estate for everyone to keep their distance.  Keep the peasants masked when they come to cook and clean and you'll all be fine

There are no laws here that you have to 'covid proof' your rental property but at 2,100 pounds a week I'd covid proof it too.  I bet the villa will be full all summer, not because of his TLC  but after all that free advertising in the Guardian, the Daily Mail and probably every other British paper and International wire services it will have piqued a load of interest


Stanley, father of Boris and 'Villa Irene' at Pelion in central Greece.

Comments from Greeks stuck in Britain came thick and fast, and not only greeks.  One rule for the rich and priveleged and one rule for the rest of us seems to be the tune.  Naturally enough.

Greeks were not impressed by his arrival and there were cries and complaint for a few days but it has all died down now.  He tested negative for the virus on entry and one only hopes that he is self-isolating for 14 days before venturing out in to the village to enjoy his 'beloved' tavernas and cafes.






Sunday, 5 July 2020

War Zone Update

We found our closest neighbour and gave him the 3rd degree about the gunshot the other day and about  his young corn plants and hungry bunnies.  No, it wasn't him.  He said if he had fired his gun from across the road then the 'shrapnel' would have made holes in our roof tiles.

So K phoned another hunter-neighbour who lives just across the valley.  We found the culprit.  He said he shot into the air to scare a flock of seagulls.  The 'boom' sounded a lot closer.

We often notice the seagulls over there.  There must be a draft of air coming down the valley.  They soar and swoop making loud seagull noises.  All those seagulls over his house make an awful mess of his car, his balcony and his outdoor furniture and he had just had enough.  The shot worked because we haven't seen the seagulls since though I am sure they will return.

It just goes to show how far a bullet can travel.  It must have landed somewhere near us for me to hear the ping, ping, ping of stones on the side of the house.

Letting off a volley of rifle shots has been, in the past, a part of celebrations at weddings, baptisms and the like, especially in the island of Crete.  However, those bullets come down to earth again and can kill.  A few years ago a stray bullet took out the bride at her wedding.  A child in a school playground was killed the same way and there have been lots of very nasty accidents.

I can understand his annoyance.  We hear shots from down near the bay when marrauding goats invade someones vegetable garden or even when a hare is seen darting out of the pine trees.  He will still be shooting but not into the air.

Friday, 3 July 2020

Poros Images



Neorion Bay
From the big house on the hill
Photo by Poppi



A Norwegian catamaran 
Norway is one of the countries on the 'permitted' list