Thursday, 21 October 2021

Home

More washing machines?
Yes, more
How many washing machines can a fellow have?
As  many as a fellow wants
Which is far more than a fellow needs




We now have two more washing machines adorning our front yard.
Thanks to neighbours who bought new machines.
So these are second hand, were broken, are now fixed and waiting a new home.  I hope.  We already have two in the back yard.




The monsoon began and they're still in the front yard.
They'll be moved out back very soon.  I hope.
Family members want them, but just not now





One gets lifted into the back of the car with the help of young grandaughter .  She's a rower so her arm muscles are very well developed.

She gets extra exercise hoeing up the weeds
in the road below our wall.  The earth was as hard as concrete.  It hadn't rained for months


And then comes a stretching workout trimming the thorny bougainvillia

There's always work at my house for idle hands!

Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Photos. More

 Poros photos.


Hnadmade greek dolls and a greek flag display in the Weaver's shop.
She has a loom set up back there and gives lessons if you want to learn.

28th October is a major national holiday. Soon there will be Greek flags flying everywhere, including outside our house.


Kyriakos, Captain of the water taxi Socrates pushes off  on his short journey across the strait to the mainland.
1 euro for a 5 minute trip.
  A boat leaves from either side every 20 minutes. 
They can be hired to dash across if you think you'll miss the hydrofoil to Athens or just have a leisurely cruise around the harbour.


An alley way downtown




A tiny little church hidden away behind the harbour, squeezed in between  houses
This church is dedicated to Agios Taxiarchis.
His fiesta is on 8 November along with Archangels Michael and Gabriel.




Sunday, 17 October 2021

Stuffed

 Tomatoes and peppers

Looking back to summer.  That's not long ago.  A week?

The rains finally started and so winter-autumn? began.  Autumn I'd say.  It's still not cold and until the rain set in the beach bars were open and holiday makers were swimming.


Over the last few days the earth has finally had a really good drenching.  Olive and lemon trees have perked up and that lush green clover has appeared seemingly overnight.


Before all these changes we had the grandkids here for an overnighter.  The next morning they made pancakes and nutella, heaps of toast and marmite and then took over the preparation for lunch.



Hollowing out tomatoes wasn't the best part of it but cleaning the green peppers was ok


Per Papou's instructions a grated zucchini was added to the mixture. He overlooks all activities in this house. 
He got the idea from an old lady who used to cook for her taverna.   There was too much stuffing and it didn't add to the taste or texture.  It won't be repeated, by me at least.  His mother didn't do it, why should I.  


Happy, happy.  Tomatoes and peppers stuffed and ready for the oven.



Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Greek Wedding

 

These are photos from the wedding we attended at the end of September.  The photos have all come out in the wrong order.
So the commentary is from end to start.

First the couple were married and then the priest baptised their 18 month old daughter.  It's the fashion now to do both in one foul swoop.  Usually, as in this case the couple have a civil wedding and when they can afford it they have a big church wedding.  There were around 200 guests at this event.  


Their were fireworks and bursts of sparklers, rockets and a live band playing traditional greek music. 
No gunfire this time .  A week later another neighbour was married and his friends let off bursts of rifle shot before he left the house.  It's forbidden here now but is still a tradition in most places outside the cities.
The music is more or less standard around here.  The band or the DJ know what the people want.  They want to get up and dance all night long.  Greek dancing.



After the ceremony we are given a small gift of sugared almonds known as bonbonieres.  This is the pink bracelet and small pouch of almonds from the baptism.  The bridal bonboniera was a package of almonds tied up in tuille and attached to a white stone.  In fact they were both glued to stones.  A bit heavy for the pocket and too big for my small purse


Here's the babe in her new hat.  She is stripped, dunked in the font three times, annointed in oil and then dressed up in her new baptismal outfit, provided by the god parents.

 She thought it was all a lot of fun till the priest made sure she was dunked right under the water and then the screaming started.  


Here the babe, Paraskevoula (that's her name, Voula for short) is held by her mother while the priest does the preliminaries with the god parents.  He has to make sure they will bring up their godchild as a good Christian Orthodox and there's a whole spiel to read and recite



The bride and groom have just been joined in Holy Matrimony and are being led around the altar three times by the priest.  We used to throw rice and almonds at them while they did this but now the rice is thrown outside the church.  Easier to sweep up



The bride has just arrived at the church and is greeted by the groom and his parents.  The bride's father hands her over to her husband to be and they go into the church together


Most people stood outside for the whole ceremony.  Only a certain number are allowed inside due to the virus and everyone is supposed to wear a mask.  A handful wore masks and the priest wasn't one of them


The baptismal font nicely decorated for the baptism.  It is filled with warm water


The best man gets instructions on how he must cross the rings and the bridal crowns.  



All ready for the wedding ceremony


Groom and Mama await the daughter-in-law



Saturday, 9 October 2021

Piranhas


 Revenge of a vicious piranha.  Or maybe it was a savage shark.  Only they weren't sharks or piranhas, just a band of tiddlers.  And they were out for flesh and blood.


Poor K got bitten by fish when he was bobbing about in the sea on our holiday. I got my heels nibbled but they actually bit chunks out of his leg.

We could see shoals of fish quite clearly. They didn't look more than about 6inches but boy could they do damage.

One thing I can't understand is why they didn't attack those Greek women bobbing just beyond us.





Wednesday, 6 October 2021

The Best of Times

 .Our holiday is over now.  We are home and back into the daily routine.  The clothes have all been washed and some of them have even been ironed.  It's almost time for changeover, summer to winter.  Almost.  The weather is still warm though I've put a duvet on the bed.  Nights are chilly.

So here are a few last photos from our holiday.



Sand and sea.  It's really shallow as you wade out, easy to dip in slowly.  The water was not warm


One of the sparrows that always hung around the dining terrace.  A good place for crumbs


Don't know why some of these photos are so darn thin.
I got an iced espresso every morning as I went down to the beach.  One of those insulated beer can holders kept the coffee cold for hours.  


Looking the other way down the beach.  After the weekend there weren't too many people around.  Just enough and just far enough away


Everything was a short walk away.  Our room was at the end of that red brick road





All lit up at night. 
Just us and the sound of night birds
And a bar with low, easy going music to entertain us when we sat on our balcony with a glass of wine in the evening




Monday, 4 October 2021

Bits and Pieces

 Our english neighbour brought an unexpected gift 


They have been doing alterations on their house since last summer.  The first thing they did was to send me a message to say there would be to-ing and fro-ing, more traffic and noise than usual.  And then this summer they brought round a couple of bottles of nice greek wine and some english chocolates.  The best sort of neighbours!







I sometimes note that traffic and parking rules don't really apply here.  We double or even triple park and leave the keys in the ignition.  Proper parking for cars is limited and everyone likes to leave their vehicle in front of the cafeteria where they drink their coffee or do their shopping.  Locals know the rules.  City slickers do not.

We found a legal parking space and went off for coffee and other busy-ness and came back to find this car parked up right behind us.  After a lot of shouting and asking around we found the owner's wife at the cafe opposite taking no notice.  When she was singled out she said her husband had the keys and went off to find him.  No 'sorry, wait a minute please'.

He eventually came along, no sorry from him either but we did get a blast of 'just be patient, can't you' from the wife.  That's 'not on' you visitors.  You may spend a bit of money but don't annoy us in this summer heat with your city ways.  

Of course, as we pulled out the husband went into our legal parking space.  No 'thank you' for that either.

It's October now and the island is still full.  The roads are mad with scooters, quad bikes and groups of walkers.  The harbour has wall to wall yachts.  Make hay while the sun shines they say.  Well, the tourists are still doing just that and the extended family needs them.

We do too to some extent.  It makes for fascinating people watching.  The yachts coming in this morning were captained by Sunday-sailors and hitting the dock or the yachts already parked up.  Lots of tut-tutting from experienced sailor K.  Overweight germans wearing speedos and alcoholic french and scandanavians drinking tankards well before the sun was over the yardarm were good for a poke (not literally) and the morning passed cheerily 


Monday, 27 September 2021

Relaxation

 All quiet on the Western Front.


No news of marauding Turks, wildfires, nuclear subs, border walls, viruses or yet another wife killing, 10 so far this year. 


The cafeteria doesn't open till 9 so no use getting up early. Capuccino and cheese pies to look forward to.


Yes, we are on holiday. My traditional Greek man, and me, are getting some r &r so he doesn't add another wife to those statistics.



I think I post the same pic every year. This time though we are on the 2nd floor. We observe without being observed .

So green and so clean

 We are back at the Naval resort. One week of absolute relaxation.  The restaurant has a good variety of cheap food. The rooms have been cleaned and disinfected. No housework, though I did sweep the sand off the floor yesterday.

The beach has umbrellas and sun-beds and pedaloes and canoes for the very active. WiFi is a bit spotty but I have a collection of books and magazines.


The weekend was busy. The beach filled up with active personal, families in tow. Now it's just the hardy, the retired and the retiring. This is the last week before it closes for the winter. It's quiet. Almost too quiet for traditional Greek men who seek discourse and dispute.


  The sea water is cold until you can make that first dunk. Then its glorious.


  The only sounds are from the groups of Greek ladies bobbing in the sea whose shrill voices carry a very long way over the water.  



Even after swimming way down the beach this morning I could still hear them quite clearly, yap yap yap. I block them out but K picks up all the latest gossip.

Saturday we got up at 6 and drove 4 hours back to the island to attend a wedding. Crazy. Then 4 hours back on Sunday, later in the day, to continue our holiday till mid week when we get the boot.

The weather forecast is perfect for dozing over a book, icy swims and ouzo and octopus, that I don't have to prepare, on a  terrace that's not ours.

Saturday, 18 September 2021

Photos. Poros

 


An inventive way to keep the flies off  the fish. Tassels on  rotating rope


But this is where we mostly buy our fish.  Straight from the kaïki of cousin Tassos


If we disappear for quarter of an hour he'll gut and scale them too






An imaginative light shade at a harbour side taverna

Wednesday, 15 September 2021

14th September

 The Feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross

In the Greek Orthodox church this is one of the big feast days.  But not in the way of eating.  It's a day of strict fasting, like Good Friday.  No oil and absolutely no, meat, fish, eggs or dairy.  Too bad if it's your name day.  You'll be celebrating with grilled octopus and squid and sharing out almond cakes and dark chocolate with nuts.  But, there's no limit on the ouzo, wine and raki.



Church of the Holy Cross
all decked out for it's fiesta


We ate liver and onions. 

K, although a very traditional greek, is exempted from these rules and regulations for health reasons.


My sister in law went to the little church at the end of the harbour with a bunch of basil and brought back Holy water to sprinkle round the house.  Everyone takes basil to church on this day.  It's a holy plant because when Empress Helena discovered the true cross there was a basil plant growing there.


In older days and even now the good greek housewife will place her blessed bunch of holy basil in a basin of water, leave it to soak for a few days and make sourdough starter from the liquid.  Don't bother if you're a young woman and it's your time of the month.  It won't work, so they say.


Schools opened on the 13th.  All my younger grandchildren have to do covid tests twice a week until they are vaccinated and wear masks during lessons.  They are allowed to take them off during breaks and gym out in the yard.


They are all down on the list to be vaccinated and hopefully that will happen this week.  At least they won't then need to do those twice weekly tests.







Friday, 10 September 2021

Home News

 


 September now and there is a noticeable drop in temperature.  Hurrah.  The next two months will be quiet-er and cool-er.



Not many around here have picked their grapes yet.  The harvest seems to be later this year despite the heat waves, one after another this summer.

The serious wine growers have plenty of healthy grapes to pick.  Unlike us.  This is more or less the extent of our grapes this year.  There are a few more bunches but mostly they have shrivelled on the vine...........



.......... and turned into raisins


An iced coffee with a paper straw.  Here you can buy a coffee and can still be drinking it 2 hours later.  A paper straw is not a good idea.  The bottom half, which sits in the coffee, starts to dissolve.
I drink my coffee quickly but traditional greeks do not.  There's a lot of blah, blah, blah inbetween each sip.  Coffee sessions are usually drawn out debates




Thanks to my cousin Ch who sent me a parcel of NZ Listeners and newspapers.  The Listener is basically a TV guide but that brief description does it an injustice.  It is a magazine to inform and entertain.  I read everything from the letters to the editor, current events , sports, book reviews, well informed articles on everything under the sun and the best crosswords and puzzles which make me scratch my head and think.


This puzzle, puzzler is my absolute favourite.  He gives you one letter and you have to solve it from there.  He's being doing these puzzles for donkey's years.  Last time I was in NZ, 2006, I found a book of them and brought it back.  I do the puzzles in pencil, rub them out and do them again, after a few years when hopefully I've forgotten the solution.

Thanks Cuz







Wednesday, 8 September 2021

Poros Photos No 3

                        


Another view of Teacher's Island, Daskalio.  There are other islands with similar names all over Greece.  They were the out of the way venues for secret schools during the hundreds of years of Turkish occupation when it was illegal to teach the Greek language or history.  



As you can see from this photo it is vaguely in the shape of a heart.  It is nowadays promoted as the Island of Love, Eros, and a romantic setting for a wedding.

The island is not far from the coast and the grandchildren often row over there or even swim the distance for a picnic in the grounds of the little white church dedicated to the Virgin  Mary





One of many ancient theatres in Greece.  This is the Epidavros theatre not far from us .  Their summer season of greek comedies and dramas has just finished


A rather different view of the island.  It does rain here, sometimes.







Friday, 3 September 2021

News

Angela, the rains are a coming!  The ants are out in force.  They are scooping up any crumb they can find and the tiny little red ones are getting very aggressive.  Their bite stings and there's a fierce slapping of arm or leg.  Rain has been forecast for northern Greece from tomorrow and it may rain here on Sunday.  The ants say there will definitely be rain.


Up further North in the city of Katerini a warehouse of oregano was destroyed by fire.  40 tons of oregano.  I wonder if you can get high on oregano fumes.  I find it difficult to get my mind around 40 tons of the stuff.  Oregano is light weight.  How big was the warehouse.


Our national tennis hero Stephanos Tsitsipas has blackened his reputation lately.  In the early stages of the Covid crisis he was the leading man in the ad campaign,  wear your mask , keep your distance and stay home.  Now he has publicly said that he hasn't been vaccinated and won't unless he's forced to.  He says he's young and fit and eats healthily and won't catch it.  You'd think he would just keep his mouth shut but he and his father kept the story going for days .  Being young and healthy isn't going to keep him safe if someone with the virus coughs in his face.  It didn't help at all when Greece is trying its best to get everyone vaccinated.


Now he's in the news again for taking long toilet breaks during international tennis matches.  One opponent, on camera accused him of taking his phone with him and consulting his Papa who is his coach.  The camera swung around to where his Papa was sitting and there he was texting on his phone.  He lost the match by the way.


Playing against Andy Murray in New York he took a 9 minute break.  He later took another long loo break, halted the game to change rackets and then had a medical time-out.  These major players are not amused.  It breaks their rythym, which is probably what he wants.  He was booed at the US Open after another break playing Adrian Mannarino.


Foreign firefighters who helped put out Greece's wild fires this summer have been given vouchers to return and enjoy a holiday in Greece.  There were hundreds of firemen fighting the fires , from 11 EU countries and 12 non -EU.   Last week we watched on the news as a convoy of Romanian firetrucks left for home.  They got cheered all along the way.


And last but never least there have been 6 cases of the new variant of Covid 19 reported in Greece.  MU, first appeared in Colombia back in January and has now been found in 39 countries.




Thursday, 2 September 2021

Fishy Dishes

Looks like we have internet .  It was a bit patchy yesterday but good enough let us do all the online work that had to be finished.  We paid the phone bill as well, now they have finally got us functioning again. 




 When at a fish taverna, order fish



Here's Captain Pano again with his shrimps and spaghetti
A favourite dish in Greece.  K cooks it for us now and again though the shrimps he cooks aren't quite as big as these


K's downhome 'taverna'
Fish night on our balcony

One crab fed two.  They didn't eat only crab obviously but you can see the size of it from the claw.  K steamed it and dug out the meat, piled it into the shell with a little olive oil and lemon juice.  The meat in the claws was broken out with a walnut cracker


Seabream lightly cooked in wine with carrots and zucchini
Grilled octopus


Fish souvlaki.
Marinated and grilled once again by K
The fish is called 'morona'
The english translation appears to be 'sturgeon'.



K and his cousin of the same name tucking into that fresh cod
45 euros a kilo.

Just a note on ordering fresh fish.  K and his cousin K went into the kitchen and looked at the fish available.  Pressed and prodded and looked at the eyes to see how fresh it was.  Then they told the chef exactly what they wanted, how many fish and how to cook them.  The chef weighed out the fish in front of them and after everything was agreed on they came back to the table happy campers.

You can order one fish or one kilo and usually they will fry or grill, bake it or even turn it into fish soup if you're prepared to wait

My traditional Greek husband loves cooking and eating fish.  He even prefers it to pork.