local-kiwi-alien

Friday, 29 January 2021

Sun's Out Again

It's still darn cold but sunny at least.
Here are some beach photos from my last walk



A lonely hammock swinging in the wind.



The sea looked quite inviting but I didn't go down to poke my toe in.
What a pain in the neck that would have been.  Taking off socks and then shoes.  Rolling up trouser leg/s.  Finding something to dry the toe afterwards. Observing blue colour of aforementioned toe. Massaging said toe back to life.  Na, poking toes in water is not something you (I) do at this time of the year


Still it's a stunning scene of blue sea and sky

 

Wednesday, 27 January 2021

Not a Laughing Matter

 Don't any of you dare laugh, or else.



Those white dots are snow flakes.  

A dark orange (Saharan sand) cloud hovered over us and for 5 minutes we had snow flurries.


Squeals of excitement. And it was over. The stuff melted immediately so those 17 flakes were all I managed to photo.


Tuesday, 26 January 2021

Octopus and Ouzo

 A humungus octopus.


Son in law Kyriakos and 'friend'
While fishing is not allowed during lockdown, if you're a boatman (water taxi captain ) you can walk up and down the quay with your trident, peering into the depths, while waiting for passengers.

This octopus is around 4 kilos.
One of those suckered tentacles would satisfy a bunch of ouzo drinkers. Octopus and ouzo go together like toast and honey, a horse and carriage. You get the idea.  They're 'best buds' as Jamie Oliver would say


And 'Lo' a few weeks later he speared another one.




 This is the sort of thing he throws.  The handle is a couple of metres long so he can throw and retrieve it

At  the moment they're in the freezer but we will all be enjoying, sometime, lazy summer days of  octopus meze.

He's a grand cook as well.  His octopus simmered in its own juices and doused in ouzo is a classic.

Then there's plain grilled octopus with dashings of lemon juice
Octopus and macaroni
Octopus and onions
Fried octopus

But the classic is a grilled tentacle, sliced, speared with a toothpick and a glass of ice cold ouzo or raki on a hot summer's day, with a few friends and lots of loud discussion
  



Monday, 25 January 2021

Monday Market

 Monday's we have a very small farmers market at the other end of town.


Just three stalls.
Here is Ks cousin getting blustered in a strong south (warm) wind. He has oranges and lemons, greens and a huge squash which we bought


The other two stalls. Lots of greens, cabbage, cauliflower and a few tomatoes


A giant of a squash
All for three euros
Helps to have a cousin at the market. He threw in a kilo of lemons and some oranges as well




Saturday, 23 January 2021

A Poros Walk

 Outdoor exercise is permitted, swimming in the sea, walking the dog  and when you have tennis courts next door, as my daughter does, you can play a game or two.  Mostly people around here walk, in pairs, in groups, on the road, along the coast and up the hills.

 


This photo was taken on a track above Neorion Bay
where the kids went with their dogs one day


Looking down towards the Naval Base and the main town.
The hills in the distance are on the mainland

 


Feeding the strays
There is an area near a small rural church where cats are dumped.  They are fed and looked after by some of the locals and the 
animal welfare society.  Now and again they are all rounded up and sterilised so at least they are not reproducing.



An animal burrow.  Quite large.
I can't imagine what would live in their.  We don't have foxes, wild pigs or anything large enough to fit in there.  It looks too big for a rabbit



Maybe it was this tortoise who should have been hibernating





 


Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Suns Out!

 The sun came out, the wind died down. A marvellous day for walking beside the sea. I put on my mask, sent my SMS no. 6 for permission, made sure I had pockets for ID card and phone, put on jacket and gloves and off I went. Such a palaver.


The boys are fixing the boat. Look how clear the water is, how calm


The snow on the top of the mountain is all that's left of our icy Siberian temperatures



The eucalyptus tree is usually surrounded by sunbeds. In a few months


Is it a bird? Is it an UFO?
No it's just something we rarely see anymore.



A view from over Neorion Bay

Monday, 18 January 2021

Another one of those Days

 Ooh baby it's cold out there. 

There is snow falling all around us, so it seems, but up where we live it's just plain icy. I went out this morning to throw out yesterday's ashes, fill up the wood box and give my wild marmelade cat some biscuits but that's all.


I quickly put together dough for a loaf of bread and got some fasolatha, traditional bean soup, out of the freezer.  The rest of the day has been spent toasting bits of bread and cheese in the oven of the wood fire, changing channels and sipping red wine.


Snow coming down over the hills on the mainland. This photo is taken by one of my daughter's from her balcony.

We did have a quick shower of hail but otherwise not even a snow flake.


And this is a photo taken from the house by the sea .  A slightly different view from the blue skies of last week


And my own view today.
One pot has the soup, with the addition of a hot pepper and the other has a pot of water to wash the dishes later

Saturday, 16 January 2021

Leandros

 I didn't walk outside today. The icy storm from the north named Leandros, Leander to you, reached us in the early hours of the morning .

I lit the wood fire at 10am. The house was cold and damp. Now it's warm and cosy.


We have stacks of wood around the room and are all ready to hunker down for a few days. It's snowing in the northern suburbs of Athens. 


This blanket is getting heavy. Ideal for working on in this weather


I made chicken soup and we had a few glasses of red wine. It's television and crochet time.





Thursday, 14 January 2021

Family Walk


Last weekend my walking programme began with an 'outing' with the girls and the dogs.  It was another sunny day but the atmosphere was dull and the air full of Saharan dust.

There were loads of people up there. walking in the ruins, driving around or like us getting exercise with a view.  From some vantage points, on a clear day, we can see the outskirts of Athens and Piraeus.

The police car passed at some stage but didn't stop to look for masks or sms no. 6, permission to take outdoor physical exercise, walk the dog or feed stray animals.


 

A dusty horizon.  Looking down towards the harbour of Vagionia, below the ruins of the temple complex dedicated to Greek god of the sea Poseidon.  This whole area would have been full of houses, docks and warehouses once upon a time


The girls came up from town and brought coffee with them.  After the walk we sat to chat.  That is Junior and Molly with us


An elderly olive tree.  



The threshing floor opposite the temple site.  I don't think this is part of the ancient ruins.  It's old, but not that old

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Sun Shiny Day

 Fortunately these last few days have been warm and bright.  We have been out for doctors appointments and  filling out of papers. Today I was in short sleeves with just a light jacket so I didn't have to roll up my sleeves for  a vaccination.  We both got a pneumococcal shot at the local chemist.  6 weeks ago we got an ordinary flu shot and it looks as though sometime in May we may get a covid shot.  Covid vaccine is now being given to over 85 year old.  There were a couple of over 85s in the pharmarcy when we arrived and they were rightly displeased to find out the island doesn't have any vaccine and probably won't for a while.  If they want to get vaccinated they must go to one of the hsopitals in Athens or Piraeus.


When we finished our jobs today we got a coffee-to-go and a couple of sesame rolls and sat in the sunshine, inside the car and watched the goings on around the central market.


There are still plenty of people around, many continuing their old habits, in masks.






The usual patrons of our favourite cafe.  Now they have their coffee in a plastic cup and sit on the stools stacked around the perimeter.  If the owner is warned of a police patrol he shoos them all off to the benches across the road


The rest of the cafe




There was a 'crowd' around the fishing caique so we stopped to see if they were selling any fish.  But no-one had been out. 


Further down the quay there are nets  piled high and covered up.  No restaurants are open to buy the catch.  The big boats are not going out at all


These nets have been here for a while.  Weeds are growing up amongst them

These balmy days are due to come to an end tomorrow.  An icy front called Leandros is coming down from the Siberian steppes.  By the weekend temperatures should be at freezing point and central Athens is forecast to have snow.


Tuesday, 12 January 2021

Walk

 Some photos from today's walk in the fresh air.


The door of the little church at the end of the line. The whitewashed piece of marble on the right I'm darn sure is/was  part of a column from the Temple to Poseidon. The ancient ruins are just up the road



A typical rural road


Obviously the first of the spring flowers


A small herd of sheep being brought in to be milked, fed and bedded

It's essential I have my phone with me so I can show the police, if I'm ever stopped, that I have the SMS for permission to walk.
 
Having my phone with me means I can take photos. That makes the walk a bit more interesting. I'm always on the look out for a scene or everyday, for me, feature which I might be able to show you in my blog.
I get  one view on the way and a different one on the way back. 

Small things but ones which make a difference to me.

Sunday, 10 January 2021

Hobbies

In these strange days when you're more or less confined to home it really helps to have something interesting, creative, to pass the time.  I thought I would be able to read more books, watch more TV programmes of my choice but it rarely turns out that way.  I have a hundred things to do everyday and there still isn't enough time to to do it all.  I still have to cook and clear the ashes and get rid of a few cobwebs.  Clothes still have to be washed, but not necessarily ironed, beds changed and carpets vaccumed.

However, that's morning stuff.  Afternoons, after the essential siesta, there is more time for me.  Thanks to my daughters I have begun a regular walking programme.  The festive season was too much fun and food and I seem to now carry a few extra kilos.  Those have got to go and I need to get fit.  My summer exercise is swimming but I twisted my ankle and sank down into that couch and rarely rose from its depths even when the ankle was healed.


  We have a treadmill which has the evil eye.  The xmas tree was set up on top of it this year through lack of space.  We took it down on New Years eve. Before twelfth night.  It seems that is unlucky.  Ye, right.  But when we turned the treadmill on it came to a grinding halt.  So I have been pushed outside to get exercise.  Dragged and pushed, not quite screaming.  What better place to walk.  We live in the wop-wops.  Fresh air and no-one else to encroach on our space.  The thing about walking is that when you've walked half an hour or so then you have to turn round and walk back again the way you came.  Boring.  Which is why I liked the treadmill.  But with encouragement I am overcoming that.  So many ways to go, so many different turns to make.  I'm getting to enjoy it.  Or I will.

 One of my many hobbies is crochet.  And knitting.  But crochet is faster and all you need is a hook, a bit of yarn and imagination.  If you make a mistake it is so easy to pull it out and continue on.  Unlike knitting


I'm making peggy squares, also known as granny squares.  I'm using whatever yarn leftovers I have on hand.  Sewing in all those ends is a bit of a bugger and you need a few hundred squares to make a decent size throw or blanket but the project can take years.  Who cares.  It's calming and satisfying to see the squares mount up.  If I had enough yarn in just one or two colours I could even make a vest or a jersey, may even do so.


One xmas I knitted dozems of these stockings to hang on everyone's christmas tree.  




Meanwhile the male half of our duo is fixing appliances of every sort for friends and family.  How often does a kettle, iron, vaccum cleaner, bedside light give up the ghost.  If you don't have a handy man then you chuck it and buy another.  Not us.

When it's freezing he brings his repairs inside to the living room.  That's ok.  If he's happy then so am I


Baking takes up time.  Sourdough bread or quick bread when its cold and wet and we don't want to get into the car and take a trip down the mountain.  I'm trying not to bake cakes and biscuits.  Easter isn't that far away and we will once again have a house full of easter baking, cookies and sweet bread.  



I'm making a cookbook of all the New Zealand, English and Gre-nglish recipes we make at Christmas.  I think our house hold should celebrate a Greek easter and an English Christmas.  Traditional people do not agree and we always have some fatty pork at Christmas too, like it or not.

But brussel sprouts, yorkshire puddings, stuffing, roast vege, real gravy,  pate, xmas cake and lots of chilled sauv blanc are essential for me to feel that xmas spirit. It's all being recorded for posterity. 

And now my cousin C in NZ has given me another project.  She wrote and published a book on her extra-ordinary life, her idyllic upbringing in NZ in the '50s and 27 years in Lesotho.  She has asked us all to write 3 pages on our own lives and she will publish a second book.  It's a marvellous idea.  Where to begin, where to end.  





Wednesday, 6 January 2021

Blessing of the Waters

1st January St Basil

It's good old Saint Basil who brings presents to the greek children and on New Years day, not on Christmas Day.  

My kids got their presents from St Nick on Christmas day and they have continued  that tradition with their children.  Both generations naturally thought they should get presents on both days. No way that was going to happen.


 6 th January there is another big celebration, public holiday, that of the Blessing of the Waters.  This year churches are open but only a few at a time are allowed inside.  


Only half of the ceremony takes place inside the church.  After the main service a procession of priests and important island people proceed down to the waterfront where a big woooden cross, attached to a long line, is thrown into the harbour 3 times.  The third time the cross goes into the water a bunch of hardy locals dive in to retrieve it.  The one who holds the cross aloft is  specially blessed and receives some reward from the church.


This year none of that was supposed to happen but in some places the cross was thrown into the sea or a river and various church officials plus those faithful ones who dove into the waters to be first to reach the cross have all received hefty fines.


We would have brought back bottles of blessed water from the church which K would have sprinkled over us both and all around the house.


The whole island plus a few hundred visitors usually go down to the harbour, all dressed up in  Sunday best, to witness all this.  Instead today we stayed home and K watched one of the services on TV.  


It's a day for gathering with friends and family. drinking ouzo and seafood mezes and enjoying the pomp and ceremony.  Usually.


 


Instead we had a fish BBQ, sat outside and enjoyed more peace and quiet.  Well, I did anyway.  

7th January the feast day of Agios Yiannis (St John)
We'll be  feasting tomorrow.  Yianni is a very popular name, or Yianna if you're female.  The saying goes here ' a family without a Yianni, will not make progress (will not thrive)'.
Naturally we have a Yianni in the family and naturally we'll be feasting with him. 

17th January is the feast day of St Anthony
18th January feast day of St Athanassios













Monday, 4 January 2021

New Year

 New Year's come and New Year's gone and life goes on as ever.

We're having a week of stricter lock down so schools can open next Monday.  Sometimes it rains.  Some days the sun shines.


We spent New Years Eve on our own and somehow I managed to stay awake till midnight.  Don't know how, don't know why.  There was nothing of interest on television and we counted the minutes and I yawned.  No fireworks, no neighbourhood celebrations.  


K went out and broke a pomegranite for good luck.  It was bit on the hard side so I cut the top with a sharp knife to encourage good luck.  It spattered all over the paving stones so I suppose we're good for another year, just like we were last year.

He came back inside making sure the first step was with his right foot, tapped me on the back of the neck with a key and all traditions taken care of he settled down to a long winter's night with visions of sugar plums dancing in his head.

New Year's day was very bright and sunny.  We sat outside and warmed our bones.  The silence was audible.  Not a dog barked or bird chirped.  Fine for me.  Peace.  Traditional people do not like peace and quiet.  But it didn't last long.

A guinea fowl started its raucous cry  and then the family arrived en masse


Time to cut the New Year's pita and see who won the lucky coin.
Elli won the 'flouri' in our pita (cake) 


K won the 'gold' coin in Elli's pita/cake.

We all ate from both of them and leftovers were removed from our house.  We have enough sweet cakes and biscuits till last us till Easter.  I turned the last of the fruit/xmas cake into a trifle, pouring orange juice and whiskey over the pieces of cake before I added the custard.  We finished that off this afternoon.


The branch of the family down-by-the-sea had an at-home-party
on New Years Eve.  Gin fizz and virgin cocktails.


Yeh!!!  Three calendars arrived from New Zealand today.  One for each household.  We love our kiwi calendars.  One hangs over my computer as I write.  I turned last years calendar back to January.  Now I can discard it and write up this years calendar with name days, birthdays, births, baptisms and hopefully a few family get togethers.  Maybe towards the end of the year.  Thanks R and J

One more xmas card has arrived from England.  I await the rest.