Saturday 27 November 2021

Harvest Time

Greek priorities in November.  First comes the fresh olive oil but then it's playtime 

Bringing home the wine 

Bringing home the wine 

We shall come rejoicing 

Bringing home the wine.

One of my sons-in-law has a family vineyard up in the hills above Korinth, 3 hours away.  His cousin tends the vines, gathers the grapes and turns the juice into wine.  He gets a certain percentage of the end result and the rest comes down to Poros.

This year s-in-law was busy  so we went in his place to collect 200 litres of white wine and 100 litres of red wine.  

What a trip.  The first part of the journey was ok, a well worn route for us and then onto and past Korinth on the new national road.  The only hassle was getting off the damn motorway.  Our exit was unmanned and we had to throw the coins into a basket.  Well, what a palava when you're not expecting it.  There were no other cars in sight thank god.  First we thought we were in the wrong lane so K backed out with just a few bad words.  No, the other lane was only for those with a motorway pass. Back we go in again.  Still no other cars.  He tried using a card, but no it wouldn't take our card.  So I scrabbled around and found some change, thank you that mighty power on high.

At that moment the cousin with the wine phoned to see where we were.  At the same time a voice came out of the toll machine asking us if we needed any help.  Did we ever.   I took the change, got out of the car and walked around to throw it in the basket while he got directions from the cousin.

The first car appeared so with considerably more bad words he took off with the car door open and me in the middle of the road.  I had to make a run for it waving my hands and got told off for taking too long.  Then he couldn't remember the cousin's directions so we had to stop and phone him.  Oh boy.  It really was hilarious but he didn't think so then and still doesn't.  

Next we had to go through a roundabout in a tiny settlement with farm trucks behind us and elderly men drinking raki on the corner and watching the show.  I managed to get him onto the right exit and  fortunately for me we made the correct turnoff onto a narrow country lane.  And up we went and up we went.  There were miles and miles of olive trees and now and again a vineyard.  The cousin phoned again and said he was waiting for us a few kilometres ahead.  Thank goodness.  Not only was the country lane narrow, almost one car in places, but once we got to the village he started making sharp turns up incredibly steep inclines, turning corners so tight I was sure we wouldn't make it and praying we didn't meet anything coming down.

The car made it and so did we.  My nerves were tingling rather but K manoeuvred like a pro and kept face like a male must.
I'm not going back there again.  He can take a friend if there's a next time.

The cousin decants the wine from his huge 200 litre barrels into our 50 and 60 litre containers.

The boot of the car was half filled with containers and they were tied together very securely.  I expected it to glug glug glug the whole way home but the wine hardly moved.  K's excellent, cough, cough, driving.  There was no wine smell to intoxicate the driver either.

His own wine he keeps in a wooden oak barrel.  We were given a 5 litre container of this as a present.  Thank goodness we weren't ask to taste any.  I would have got out and walked down rather than negotiate that road with a few glasses under the belt.

When we got home the family turned out to help carry the wine inside and decant it into our two bigger barrels

The boys pour the wine into the clean plastic 200 litre barrels in K's unusually clean shed.  Amazing what a few litres of free wine will drive a man to do.  All the rubbish that was in that shed though is now outside on the back terrace.  That still has yet to be cleared and cleaned.

Playtime begins.
We broached that 5 litres of the cousins own wine, matured in the oak barrel.  It was darn good.  A dark red with a taste of the local grape, different from those around here.  The boys preferred their local-own-brand wine so this 5 litres is all mine.  Was all mine.  The level has gone down considerably.

We will have our first tasting of this year's vintage on 3rd December. A most important day. My birthday. I've bought a few bottles of sauv blanc in case it's still a bit young.

Kala Krasia
As they say here
Good Wine-s

Thursday 25 November 2021

Growing Up in NZ in the 50s and 60s

 Small NZ town living in the 50s and 60s. An essay on my childhood

The family house was built on a 2 acre property in the small township of Te Puke, New Zealand, and our Nana lived in a house right next door.  We had a market garden where my father grew aubergines and strawberries and  loads of other stuff and later this became an orchard.    We also had a large chook house, a lawn tennis court and various other areas where we had a few turkeys, geese, ducks or even lambs at one time.  The back of the property was a gulley with a small stream running through the bottom.  We would fish for eels there, drag them excitingly up to the top lawn and then not know what to do with them.  I doubt my poor mother knew what to do with an eel either, especially one still wriggling and writhing.  

We had a large chook house at the top of the gulley. My father bought day old chicks and kept them in the window of the agricultural machinery shop he ran, under a special lamp to keep them warm and alive.  When they were a week or so old he transferred them to the chook house.  I kept away from this as much as possible.  Chooks frightened me and still creep me out.  There were times when I had to feed them and collect eggs.  What a nightmare.  I opened the door and threw the feed at them and crashed it shut again.  Collecting eggs was done at a fast forward motion and with a long stick to poke the girls off their nest.  There were various yards where the chooks lived outside and sometimes they had to be moved, at night when they had perched and gone to sleep.  We all pitched in, even me.  I can still remember holding on to their warm scaly legs as we took them from one holding to another.  Stuff made for nightmares, for me.
 We always had chooks wherever we lived and I can vaguely remember at around age 5 walking into a chook house with a piece of bread in my hand.  A rooster suddenly lunged for the bread and took off leaving me screaming.  Is that where my fear of chooks came from?  

Chooks, eggs and produce from my father's market garden provided the money for our annual camping trips.  We camped all over the north island and the top of the south island, Nelson and surrounds which was where he grew up.  

My mother grew up in Wellington, the capitol, and we visited there as well.  She had loads of relatives in and around the city, as did my father.  We did the rounds and I met nearly all of my first cousins, most for the first and last time, till my father's funeral almost 60 years later.  I grew up in the Bay of Plenty.  Paradise, just as it sounds to be.  The Bay has a mild climate, long sandy beaches, lakes, mountains, endless pine forests, boiling mud pools and geysers, all not far away.
It has now become the retirement capitol of NZ. Back then it was surfers paradise. Tanned blonde bods rode the waves on long heavy boards. Two of my brothers were surfing fanatics. All three were trout fishermen as well. They trekked the lakes and rivers around us and still do when they can catching and smoking rainbow and brown trout.

My father was an avid gardener and besides his roses and cyclamens,  the large vegetable garden, the market garden, he always had a few exotic trees or shrubs as well.  We had a banana passionfruit vine which twined around the back door, a persimmon tree, a mulberry tree, boysenberries.  Feijoa trees lined the drive.  I remember those aubergines, egg plant we called them, just as much as the chooks. They were an exotic 'fruit' back then. I wonder they sold. I can't remember my mother cooking them. She would have been greeted by howls of horror from her children. What I do remember is walking barefoot through the field and squishing through a rotten eggplant. Yick. And their hard hairy stems. It wasn't till I arrived in Greece that I met them again and learnt to eat them.

Recently we thought the house was up for sale again but it turns out to be a neighbour's house.  Ours is named by Real Estate agents as the original homestead. The family built it in the 50's. Since then it has been remodelled inside but, from photos on the web, looks  basically the same.

The house was down the end of a long driveway lined with the feijoa trees, and oleanders. When we grew up and moved out, my father was transferred to another town.  The house had to be sold.  The best way to do this was to make a subdivision.  So our old driveway was widened into a road and the tennis court, orchards were sold as separate plots. There are now  houses where the orchards, chooks and tennis court were.

The road we lived on was called Beatty Avenue.  Named after Earl Beatty, Admiral of the Fleet, First Sea Lord of the Royal British Navy .  The main street of our small town is named Jellicoe Street, after Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, also an Admiral of the Fleet, so my parents thought it fitting that their new road should be named Mountbatten Place, and so it is.  Earl Mountbatten was also Admiral of the Fleet .  

My father  had a cousin who was Lord of the Fleet, Sir George Creasy.  While googling 'Admirals of the Fleet' an ad popped up from amazon mentioning him.  I clicked on it of course and discovered that an autograph of his is on sale there for 144 pounds plus 38 pounds shipping.  Strange.

Google will provide you with information and photos of just about whatever your heart desires.  I found photos of our old house as it is now.

The above photo is our outside seating area.  It is just as it was when we were kids, except there were  beds of colourful begonias around it too. The living room and the main bedroom both lead straight onto this outdoor terrace.  

Inside of the lounge looking out.  There used to be a fireplace in the middle of this room dividing the lounge from the dining room.  Right beside the fireplace was an oubliette, as my father called it.  
Oubliette means dungeon but this was a cupboard, open underneath and with a trapdoor on top.  It could be filled with wood from underneath in the basement and upstairs we simply lifted the trapdoor and took out the wood as we needed it for the fire.  A nifty idea of my father's.

The garden round the old house looks much the same as it was when we were kids.  On the right was a mulberry tree under which we could eat breakfast in the summer time.  

The only drawback about this land was the vast amount of lawn that had to be mowed and the lawn tennis court that had to be rolled by a tremendously, it seemed to me, heavy concrete roller to keep the court flat.  Otherwise the ball bounced up in all directions.  I mowed the sides down the drive and my Nana's lawn, although I'm sure I always had  excuses to avoid this.  

Our schools were 5 minutes away, the primary school just a walk over the rugby field and the High School was even closer.  My mother was a teacher at the High School.  She taught Shorthand and Typing but always reckoned that the girls should first have been schooled in grammar and spelling.  For instance my mother noted, it is wrong to say something is 'very' unique.    Unique means that it is a one and only, it's unique.  It's either unique or it's not unique it can't be 'very' or 'less' or any other adjective or adverb.  Never mind license and licence, capitol and capital and all the other traps that a good shorthand typist must not fall into if she wanted to keep her job.  In those days there was only a horrible hard grey rubber which made the mistake even more noticeable.  I shouldn't complain about google's spell checker. Now it's delete, delete , delete and no-one but me any the wiser.


Tuesday 23 November 2021

Autumn Crocus

 Autumn flowers are rather few and far between

This one I've never seen before. There are several clumps along the side of the road where I walk.  It looks like a combo of a  freesia and a crocus. Whatever it is I love it's bright yellow colour.

And the crocus. I should peer inside one and if it has any saffron threads. 

Our front garden. No rubbish here . This is my territory .
A summer photo. Dry and brown.

The same view today. Lush and green. In the far corner are nasturtiums. The rest is clover

Sunday 21 November 2021

The End of the War

 It was now obvious that the war would soon be over, so we had no desire to do many more raids, but it was equally obvious that our superiors were going to force the Germans into submission as soon as they could.  We learned that the people on Rhodes were close to starvation and that the Red Cross had landed a large number of relief parcels of food for them.  These, we were told, had been taken by the Germans, which prompted our Army Commander to send General Wagner a signal that his actions had been noted and if he did not feed the poulation he would be classified as a war criminal and tried for his crimes.  

We landed patrols on Rhodes which caused a lot of damage if the black smoke was any indication.  That night we picked up 33 Greeks and 24 Germans and rendezvoused with the destroyer Catterick.   Everywhere else the Armistice had been signed so we were careful not to be the last casualities in the war in Europe.  

The destroyer Kimberley came into Symi harbour with German  General Wagner and his staff aboard.  They were being brought to Symi to sign an armistice for the cessation of hostilities in the Aegean.  We embarked the Germans and I thought they wouldn't appreciate having their photos taken so lining up my camera I clicked the shutter as they looked sullenly seawards.  It was a beauty, even showing the duelling scars down the cheeks of one of the staff officers.  When the signing was complete we returned them to the Kimberley.

The next day we left for Rhodes.  Archbishop Damaskinos who was acting Regent of Greece arrived to look the place over.  With the Greek National Guard in uniform and our guard of honour it was a splendid occasion.

Next day my relief arrived and with very mixed feelings I handed the ML over to Lieutenant Dyer.  I embarked on Kimberley to have the smoothest trip ever to Alexandria.

It was always the same everytime I came back to Egypt and tasted of the good life ashore.  I would get gyppo tummy which would last for three or four days before I adjusted.  Then it was no holds barred.  One of our amusements was to stand on the side of the road and when a self-important Pasha was driven past in his latest American car, to jump into the roadway shouting 'taxi, taxi'.  We never got a lift except for our ego. 

Several of us waiting for transport home took a few days leave and booked in a pension in Cairo.  It was too hot for comfort so we didn't move too far afield.  Staying at the same place was a very red faced Pukka Sahib.  We were having dinner at night when the waiter brought him rice for sweet.  His face turned purple and he turned on the poor fellow. 'Coolie food.  Take the damn stuff away'.

Relaxing in the bar of the Union club one evening a soft-footed steward gently told me I was wanted on the phone.  Fearing that I was being recalled for service I reluctantly picked up the receiver to find it was cousin Hester returning from the wilds of Naxos to stir up official help for her cause.  That was the finish of any peace and quiet for me.  In no time I was calling on all the people she thought would pull strings on her behalf and she was soon getting her own way as she had already softened them up on her first visit.  I never learned if the worthy Bishop of Jerusalem had had second thoughts but almost overnight the whole situation changed.  She must have decided that the Greek islanders would receive sufficient assistance and her services would be better utilised elsewhere.  She completely abandoned them to take the Arabs of the Hadramut to her bosom.  In a few days she was gone and life returned to normal" 

And that was the end of the Greek adventure.  My father came back to Greece several times when we were living in Piraeus and then in Crete.  He enjoyed the experience, living like a greek, trying out his greek words, eating, drinking and having siestas with his half-greek family.  But he would have been happy to travel elsewhere and see the rest of the world.  It was my mother, enthralled by the history and ancient ruins that dragged him back.  One of her well known sayings was 'see Delphi and die'.

She managed to visit Delphi* twice so she died happy.

*Delphi - is known here as the navel of the world. The ruins  on the side of Mount Parnassus are from around 2,000 BC.  It is the site of  the Oracle Pythia, famous throughout the classical world for her enigmatic predicitons.  The ruins include a Treasury, temples, theatre and stadium.  The site has a magnificent view of a sea of shimmering silver olive trees.  

*Harry Creasy.  My father was only in his early twenties when he became Captain of the Motor Launch which saw action all over the Mediterranean.  The Greek Islands were only part of the story.  

*Cousin Hester Viney.  My cousin Jenny googled Hester and found a little about her and even a photo.  Isn't that amazing.  You can even google cousin Hester, circa 1925, and come upon pages of  information.  She wrote 'The Book of Breastfeeding'  and seems to have given lectures far and wide on Motherhood and Public Health, besides taking her message  to far away places and diverse peoples.

Here she is in the middles of the photo working with Arab women in Jerusalem Old City

Friday 19 November 2021

Hester on Naxos

 Greek tales no. 2

"When we were not doing patrols or landing raiding parties we visited the various islands to 'show the flag' and create goodwill.  The Second Officer and I would leave the Coxswain in charge, hire some donkeys and visited the villages up in the hills.  In Mykonos we had a most heart warming reception.  We went to three villages, visited a dozen or so houses with the Mayor and the inevitable Greek who had spent some of his life in the US and could remember enough english to be understood.  We gave speeches, ate, drank and were merry, got kissed by countless children and a very beared priest who reeked of garlic.  Unfortunately in the excitement the donkeys had been taken away, so we had to walk miles back to the harbour.  Hours later we limped painfully aboard the ML , mouths as dry as a chip but feeling as though our duty had been nobly done.

The Aegean islands are steeped in history and mythology.  The island of Delos still had an air of mystery which seemed to set it apart.  Milos was renowned for its Venus, Rhodes once had its Colossus and we used to pass a headland which was marked on the chart 'Homer reputed buried here'.  Lemnos further north had been well known to the Gallipoli campaigners and is revered as the burial place of poet Rupert Brooke.

When we moved to Naxos I heard that an english woman had recently arrived, gathered up an escort of donkeys and guides to transport all her equipment and taken to the villages in the hills.  Without showing too much enthusiasm and with careful questioning, my suspicions were confirmed.  Cousin Hester had apparently been turned down by the Bishop of Jerusalem but had suggested to UNRRA that her ministrations were required for the poor and needy in Greece.  They had welcomed her warmly and given her passage to Alexandria where she soon had everyone dancing attendance on her.  She had organised all her medical requirements and sailed in a caique from place to place until she and her band slipped, unnoticed by the Greek authorities, into the Greek islands.  I didn't feel like an expedition by donkey up into the hills to renew acquaintance, so we headed back to base.

By mid-March the weather was getting warmer and the seas less stormy.  We were based on Symi doing patrols, checking caiques and landing raiding parties on Kos, Leros, Rhodes and other occupied territories.  On 13th April we were told Turkey had entered the war against Germany so it was now in order for us to hug the Turkish coast to avoid the Germans.  Better still we could make use of the Turkish ports.  It was always frustrating travelling up the coast at night to see all the lights blazing from the towns and villages on the way while we had to maintain a black-out both at sea and ashore.  We were ordered to go to Marmaris to make contact with the Turks and report how they reacted to us.    

As we neared the entrance we were a little apprehensive, as maybe the locals hadn't been told they were our allies and might not welcome us.  We knew there was a Naval Signals station on one of the headlands so we hoisted a few international  signals to let them know we were friendly and having located their base did some flashing with a lamp.  It must have been their morning siesta because we got no response for about half an hour.  Then someone must have spotted us as signals went flying up the flagstaff.  A Turkish soldier appeared at the entrance to the fort waving his arms with semaphore flags as if he had a hive of bees around him.  Nothing made any sense to us so we rang engines for slow ahead and with all lookouts watching for trouble from the fort we made for the  entrance to the bay.  All was quiet as we moved out of range and increased speed to close the jetty off the beach.  We tied up alongside a caique but for all the notice that was taken of us we might have been there every day of the week.  As expected there were some English speaking Turks but no-one seemed interested in us so we bought some boxes of Turkish delight and eggs and tied up for the night alongside the destroyer Active which had arrived after us.  Next morning , in an atmosphere of anti-climax, we left for Symi, keeping a watchful eye on the fort as we went out.  

After some leave in the classical atmosphere of Athens we returned to Syros where we learnt that cousin Hester was still in Naxos.  A caique going to the island next day took a parcel and a note offering my regrets at once again having missed seeing her.

Our next duty was to go to the island of Patmos where some 160 Italians had shown the white flag and had to be moved.  We took a caique with us as there were too many prisoners for us to handle on the ML.  She could only do 5 knots so we passed her a towline and got her speed up to eight.  Unfortunately, being slowed down in this way upset our timing and we had to go past the German guns on Leros and Kos in daylight which was rather a hazard.  But we passed without incident.   We found that the Italians were not on Patmos but on Lipsos which meant a return journey of about five miles close under the guns of Leros.  We loaded all the prisoners into the caique 'Pepina', waited till dark and towed them back to Patmos.  Next day we were taken up to the top of the hill to see the Monastery built to commemorate St Paul's sojourn in a nearby cave.  On the way back to Symi we noticed 'Pepina' with her cargo of Italians.  The caique was very low in the water and as the weather was worsening we took her in tow again, crawling back to Symi with a very miserable band of seasick Italians."


Unfortunately I know little about cousin Hester.  She was famous in our household for being another eccentric in the family tree, the one who trekked into the dark depths of a greek island on a donkey in the middle of a world war to help the poor.  I wonder what the greek villagers thought of her.

Thursday 18 November 2021

Greek Tales

My father was in the Fleet Airarm of the British navy and  Captain of an ML, Motor Launch, which patrolled the greek islands towards the end of WW11 and the German invasion of Greece . 

Here are some excerpts from his greek escapades.  Towards the end of the war my father was taking the ML from island to island, carrying greek forces who went ashore and made certain that all the German troops had left. The Motor Launch  set out for Greece from the British base in Alexandria.

"It was late October before we  were ready to sail for Kastelorizo.  After the fall of Greece,  the Germans had slowly driven the Allies from the Aegean until this island. tucked close into Turkey and right out of the way, was the only one left as a base for operations.

We worked our way up to Khios which had just been evacuated by the Germans to be told we were required in Samos.  There we spent the day  ferrying Italian prisoners of war out to a merchant ship and the evening sampling the wines of Samos.  A knowledgeable member of the crew would fill his glass, raise it to the light and shout 'Fill high the cup with Samian wine' ..Byron.

A knock on the wardroom door introduced Mr Kritikos who spoke good english and now, having personally evicted the Germans and Italians, considered himself at least Lord Mayor of Karlovassi (GoodBase) , a town on the island.  He made himself at home immediately, drawing me to one side to tell me who all the collaborators were and what should be done with them.  I persuaded him that a flagon of his best wine might cement relations between us so off he went.  Next morning I called on him to learn what was of interest on the island.  He took us trudging over the hills all day to shoot partridges, which we managed with scant success, though enough for dinner.

' I am Greek he said, my wife is Hungarian and my daughter was born in Canada'.  What a conglomeration.

We moved down to Symi as guard boat to learn that some fishermen had come in with a tale that the Germans were on their way back to the island.  
We embarked some  army types and cruised slowly round the island giving it a burst of Bofors and Oerlikon (canon fire) every few minutes until up went a white flag and out of the rocks crawled three very miserable Jerry radio operators.   So much for the German invasion.

Because of this we embarked some Greek and British army personnel to go round the islands checking if any Germans were still there.  We would intercept caiques off the coast who would give us all the local news, so we soon learnt that the Germans still remained on the larger islands such as Kos, Leros and Rhodes.  

Calling at the islands was always most profitable.  We were the first British the locals had seen for some years so we got a great welcome.  We feasted on cooked octopus tentacles, which were delicious, a raw cabbage salad soused in olive oil, stuffed eggplant followed by fresh figs, watermelons and other fruit, washed down by jugs of retsina wine. 

The crew bartered cigarettes for sweet potatoes, tomatoes, fruit and so on, while we had so many turkey dinners that we almost became sick of them.  I would welcome a lettuce salad or a cold dish now and again but not the crew.  If they didn't get their midday dinner every day they were ready to mutiny.  A steaming hot dinner followed by 'afters' of tinned fruit which was real luxury elsewhere, was commonplace for us.  The islands seemed to specialise in some produce not grown on the others, so there was a great deal of trading done by caique between the islands.

 Santorini bartered tomatoes, Mytilene olive oil, Siphnos pottery.  They all produced wine which seemed to us of high quality and this too was freely bartered.

Having sorted out the islands still held by the Germans and those which were now free we started organising raiding parties consisting of Greek troops with a British liaison officer.  The Army Commander gave us the location of the German positions on the island so that on a moonless night we could quietly slip into a suitable bay and nudge the bow of the ML up on the beach for the patrol to disembark on dry land.  We had tried using the dinghy to take them ashore but the resulting shambles was enough to waken the dead, let alone the German sentries on the headland above .  As we closed the shore we would warn the patrol to get ready and be quiet.  Immediately the Greeks would start shouting to each other and flashing torches to find their gear.  Although our gun crews were closed up ready for action we were in no position to offer any resistance if the Germans spotted us, so the casual attitude of the Greeks almost drove us frantic.

We would arrange for them to signal us when they wanted to be picked up or if anything went wrong.  Failing any radio contact we would rendezvous at the same place at a time previously arranged.  Invariably the wireless operator would either drop his transmitter in the sea or over the bow onto the beach, so we never heard from them once they disappeared into the black of the night.  They would give us a push off the beach accompanied by much shouting, cheering and flashing of torches.  Sighing with relief we would back off and creep slowly out of the bay to a spot down the coast well clear of enemy positions.

Next night we would pick up another patrol from a previous landing and return to base until it was time to rendezvous again.  This operation was just as hazardous as landing.  We would approach the bay with engines just ticking over and wait for a torch signal to pinpoint the patrol.  Sometimes we would be early and, lying in the bay, would follow their approach to the beach by the flashes of torches and murmur of voices which carried clearly across the water.  Cursing all Greeks and their unmarried parents we would move in, embark them as quickly as possible and get the hell out of it".

Monday 15 November 2021

Moving House

We helped a friend empty a house in the back streets of Poros

 Look at this narrow lane

The little truck had to back about 100 metres along the narrow lane. 
The driver didn't stop, hardly even looked back.  He's backed up here quite a few times before

As usual google has managed to put half of these photos in the wrong place

Unloading at the other end.  It was flat here and the table and couch only had to be carried a few metres

Two chairs on the quay waiting to be carried onto the car ferry and across to Galatas.  The people who owned the house have sold it and gone back to Blighty.  The remaining furniture and odds and sods were distributed among mainly the foreign 'locals' for a donation to those who look after the stray dogs 

It really is just a little truck.  One of the smallest on the island that can negotiate these narrow back streets bringing supplies to the shops and carrying people's possessions door to door.  It would all have been done by donkey a few years ago

Athletic grandaughter brings down one of the armchairs

This flight of steps is the last stage.  First of all everything had to be maneuvered down another very narrow and steep flight of steps and do a sharp turn through a very narrow track between the neighbouring houses.  I don't know how  all the big furniture was carried up there.  The space was so tight and the steps so narrow. I would have bought a load of flat packs, though you'd still need to haul up mattresses, plus your white appliances

Down comes a big two seater couch, one which turns into a double bed.  

That couch has made it down the tight house steps and along the lane.  Angling it round that corner took  a lot of effort and a bit of strategy.  

The table was heavy wood and weighed a ton.
There was a lot of groaning and sweating going on

The overseers
J on the left organised the clearing, cleaning and removal of all the household goods. 
She ran the auction and made sure everyone got what they wanted without complaints or disputes. She also does long hours of hands on work with the strays.
She's a Poros treasure
 .... And my bff

View from the balcony of the house.

Sunday 14 November 2021

Naxos Potatoes

 Potatoes have been growing on the greek island of Naxos since the 1700's.  The official Naxos Island web site says 'these are not just potatoes.  These are Naxos potatoes'.  They certainly have a great reputation around here for tastiness though most of the potatoes in our grocers are from northern Greece, Cyprus or even Egypt.

They have two crops a year, a winter crop and a summer one.  The varieties, for those who are growers, are Liseta, Spunta, Marfona, Vivaldi and Alaska.

You can bake them, boil them, stuff them and they are celebrated in a Potato Festival in August.  8 million kilos of potatoes a year are grown just on that one island, thanks to the abundant water supply.  The fertile soil and its warm climate make for a potato of excellent quality and taste.

Greek Potato Salad

2 whole potatoes boiled and peeled and cut into cubes

Sliced onion 

Or chopped fresh onion 

2 tbsps of capers 

Chopped olives - if you like olives 

Chopped tomatoes and cucumber 

Dried oregano

Dressing ... 

1/4 cup Olive oil 

1/4 cup Vinegar balsamic or apple cider vinegar

1 tsp mustard 

You could add.. 

Boiled eggs 


Green pepper 

Feta cheese 

We eat a lot of this potato salad in the summer


Oven Cooked Potato Omelette 

 Slice A potato and fry .  Remove from the frying pan.

Cut slices of your favourite sausage and fry lightly in the same frying pan.    Pour away any extra fat that has come out of the sausages.  

Return the potatoes to the pan with the sausage.

Beat 4-6 eggs and about 100ml of milk.

Grease a small pan.    Layer the potato and sausage.

Pour the eggs and milk over the sausage and potato and add a handful of grated cheese.   Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Cook in the oven for about 20 minutes, till brown on top 

I make this now and again in the winter. It is cooked in the oven which is over our wood stove


Lemon Potatoes - Greek Style

I peel and cut the potatoes into large chunks.  I then put the potatoes into boiling water for about 10 minutes.  Strain them and put them in a bowl.  Toss the potatoes with olive oil, the juice of a lemon,  fresh thyme, a spoon of mustard and some chopped garlic.  Don't forget the salt, but not too much,  and pepper.

Put the potatoes in a baking dish.  I find that the potatoes will inevitably stick to the bottom and there won't be much oil and lemon left.  So I add a cup of boiling  water with half a stock cube, or a whole one depending on the quantity. The stock has salt in it remember. This gives it a bit of extra moisture.  Drizzle with more olive oil before you put them in the oven.

Dina, my greek sister in law makes the perfect potatoes but then she is usually roasting them alongside a leg of lamb or goat or even a chicken which gives that little bit more grease.  She also uses twice as much olive oil as I do.  Hers never stick.

My traditional greek person does them very well too with the aforementioned goat or chicken but tends to add too much garlic and overdoes the lemon.  Traditonal greek family and friends love them, half-greek-kiwi-family do not.  A bit too much garlic and lemon for our taste.  Don't overdo the lemon.  Added lemon zest gives a lemony flavour without that sourness.

Let them get nicely brown before eating.

Make a bowl tzatziki, bbq a few lamb chops or chicken pieces and fix a greek salad.    The best for a Sunday lunch or any day of the week.