Sunday 30 April 2023

May Day


May Day Eve. I went down the road and cut some daisies and a few wild flowers.

Last year I tied them in a bunch and hung them on our front gate.
This year I managed to form a wreath.

Nasturtiums, our one rose and one lily, lavender, jasmine, a few daisies and wild grasses  .

It's a tradition here to make a wreath from wild flowers and in years gone by we made some magnificent ones with the kids. I'm chuffed with this creation. 
It's a 3 day holiday and the island is heaving again with cars and yachts and people.

It drizzled a bit this morning but the sun came out and it's 20o today. Very pleasant.

Tomorrow, 1May, it used to be a tradition to have a picnic.  Now we are older we have a bbq instead. 

Workers will be marching and protesting in central Athens and other big cities.

Here the workers will be very busy serving coffees and Greek salads .

Friday 28 April 2023

Spring Colour


A fig tree with a trim of spring flowers.  Mainly daisies

I have just found out why every year figs appear and then drop early.  In March, April the trees are full of small figs, smaller than a walnut and suddenly they all drop and it looks as though you've lost your crop for the year.  These are the male fruit and once they're gone the females appear to swell and ripen .  They will be ready for picking  in July and August

The wild poppies are in full bloom right now.  But this is not the year of the poppy.  Usually the fields are full of them and they blanket the olive groves.  This year there are just small clumps here and there.  

Loquat. Or mousmoula in Greek
Every year  I see this tree full of fruit which nobody picks.
It's down a steep bank in the garden of a house whose owners only come for a few weeks in the summer.  Such a pity.  The terrain is too rough for me to try and get down there

This is the inside of the loquat.  There are 4 or 5 stones in there and they are easy to plant.  The trees grow quickly . 

The grapevines haven't been strimmed yet

These balls of seeds are huge.  Much bigger than a tennis ball.  I've never seen such large ones

Tuesday 25 April 2023

Rest Stops

Spring coming on summer.  These wooden benches have, over the last few years, been placed by the council all over the island.  I wish they'd put more, especially up here in the wop-wops.  I have one up near me where I rest sometimes on my walks 

Benches with a view

Here's the view
Vagionia Bay

This is my local bench
The view is of the valley below but also of the sea in the distance and on a clear day the island of Aegina.  The mountain in the background is on the mainland.

Church squares are meeting places for locals in the evening

Often the old priest, Papa Panarytos, will be there too,
chatting and soaking up the last of the days sunshine

A bench with shade
Perfect to sit and reflect out of the heat of the summer sun

There are often fishermen here with their long rods, two or three of them at a short distance, waiting for the tug of a line

The best bench of all
A few kilometres out of town
In winter you can hear the silence
In summer there are big luxury yachts with long ropes tieing them to the rocks below
The yachts have peace and quiet during the day and at night are just a short launch ride from tavernas and cafeterias

The little island is called Daskalio, Teacher's Island.  It is vaguely in the shape of a heart and has a small church on it.  It's popular with foreigners wanting to get married on a Greek island.
The priest, bride and groom and guests are taken over by water taxi with flags flying and greek music blaring.

Thursday 20 April 2023

Easter Saturday-Night Light

This is our Holy Light which has come all the way from Jerusalem
Or it 'was' our light.  The flame went out a few days ago.

The Holy Light is a miracle which is supposed to take place at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem on the eve of the Orthodox  easter celebration.  

The church says that ' a beam of blue light radiates from the tomb of Jesus creating a fiery pillar.'  A lone priest, actually the Patriarch of Jerusalem, enters the tomb (having been searched to make sure he hasn't got a lighter hidden anywhere) lights a bundle of 33 candles from the 'fiery blue pillar' and emerges to light the candles of the thousands of faithful waiting outside.  The light is then transported to Greece and to every church in the country in time for the midnight mass of ressurection. 

Whether the lighting of the candles in the tomb is miraculous or not doesn't matter.  It's an important part of the Easter tradition here.

The light is brought to Greece on a special flight and is given the honours of a Head of State.  It is also transported to other Orthodox countries in the Balkans.  In Greece it is flown from Athens to major cities and islands and from there to every church in every corner of Greece.
  The Light is brought to Poros by fast motor launch.  At the harbour it is handed over to the Mayor and several small boys, including my grandson, and the light is transported to the 4 big churches which hold a midnight mass and over to the nearby mainland villages and their churches.
Just before midnight the priest of each church emerges with candles lit from the Holy Light. The light goes from candle to candle through the crowd, a white candle tonight or a decorated candle for the children, till the churchyard and beyond is lit up with the flames of these small 'torches'.
At midnight the priest  announces 'Christ is Risen' and all hell breaks loose.
Heaven and hell. 
Church bells ring out from the four churches, ships horns toot, and firecrackers send many scattering to safety. The sky is lit up with dazzling fireworks and the celebrations begin.

The Light is taken home to make a sign of the cross above the door and then is left to burn, as long as it burns.
We didn't go down to the midnight service this year so one daughter brought us  the light in a lantern  the next day.
The light is a wick in a small bowl of oil, which unfortunately tipped over on a corner, and has stained her car seat.  The car has been anointed permanently in  holy oil. She should be safe driving it but beware any passenger wearing white trew 😁

You'd think it would have kept us safe from spirits and misfortune at least while it was still burning. But our ghost returned.
Exactly four years ago, after the Easter feast, he startled our house guests by turning on the outside radio in the wee hours and scared the living daylights out of my nephew who had to go out in the dark, black night and turn it off. Two  grapefruit fell unexpectedly and loudly from the tree as he passed it by, sending him racing back inside as fast as a road runner.
This year, after the Easter feast, our ghost turned that same radio on at 4am, just as it started to rain.  K had to go out this time  with cold, wet, bare feet and turn it off. 
I've tried to appease him, the ghost that is, by offering him a glass of wine.
K needed more than one glass to appease him.

Saturday 15 April 2023


 Holy Saturday and it's all 'go' 

The offal and lettuce soup, mageritsa, is cooking and K is making kokretsi, chunks of liver, spleen, heart, kidneys and the like on a long spit.

Tomorrow the clan gathers.  We won't be spit roasting a lamb, or goat, this year.  He's lighting the wood oven outside and the lamb will be roasted in a baking dish with potatoes.   

The lettuce and spring onion is kept fresh outside with their roots in water

Red eggs and Easter biscuits are made

We give them away to friends and neighbours, and they are fast replaced by more from the kitchens of those same friends and neighbours.

Here's the 'boy' making that kokoretsi, roll of offal, which will be cooked tomorrow, Easter Sunday

Kalo Pasca
Happy Easter

Friday 14 April 2023

Al Fresco

A sunny day
The first time it has been warm enough to sit outside.

The big bbq K made from an old water heater has been put in place. Time for BBQs before the fire restrictions begin 

The lemon trees are loaded with lemons this year
Their colour is brilliant and they are full of juice

Thursday 13 April 2023

The Moment Before

 We had to go down to the bank very early today. An actual 'inside' visit to talk to someone. She fixed the problem in 2 minutes. We had already spent 2 days trying to fix it over the phone. This new tech is sometimes head spinning. We needed real people who just don't explain but sort it all out and send you off home with all the details on a piece of paper. 

When we came out we were serenaded by a saxophonist playing from the back of his catamaran and the girls from the boat next door dancing salsa to the music. 

Following Rachel's instruction I got a 'just before' photo. Just before he swung around and faced us all. 

And a 'just after' pic. 
I swung round to get the girls dancing just as they stopped. 

So missed out on two 'spot on' photos

We listened enchanted for a few minutes until he broke into Xmas carols. And then went inside for his breakfast

Monday 10 April 2023

Spring Fever

This weekend was the 'catholic' easter (as they say here).  One more week till the Greek easter.  The weather is warm and sunny with a few showers.  Summer is coming fast.  The painting and refurbishing of tavernas and cafes has come to an end and most of them are up and running.

There are a few foreign tourists around and this week, Holy Week for the Greeks, there will be flood of visitors from Athens and other parts of the country all coming to participate in the traditional Greek island Easter celebrations. 

Those visitors with summer houses are thinking about their own painting and clean-up over their holidays.  This week walls and steps will be white washed, gardens weeded and replanted, grills and BBQs sanded down and spruced up so they're ready for the Easter Sunday (April 16th) spit roasting of the sacrificial lamb and it's innards.

Even our own neighbourhood out in the backcountry is starting to come to life.  The absentee owners of the three empty houses around us have appeared and will be looking for labourers to strim their driveways, thigh high in winter growth.  

We also are in the getting-ready-for-easter mode.  K has booked our Albanian lad for Monday to put up the shade netting over one balcony and pull the last weeds.  He himself is sanding down the long spits for the grill and checking that the machines that turn the spit are greased and ready for action.  

On Saturday we went down to the garden shop.
The owner is our neighbour across the valley.  He has a loud booming voice which can be heard quite clearly at our house.  He and all his family were at the shop running to complete all the orders.  Even the 6 month baby was there being babysitted by his slightly older sister.

The place was humming.

I had a look at the flowers but I think I'll wait a few weeks till it's a bit warmerThere were lots of herbs, lavender, thyme, oregano, mint but no summer vegetable plants yet.  The only ones I saw were strawberries.  I'm not a strawberry person.

There were 2 sorts of lavender.  I was tempted by these pots.  The lavender flowers are so big and bright.  However I already have a well established lavender.  It's flowers are smaller and more lilac but still with a powerful aroma.

They have a lot of garden pottery decorations.  I'm always tempted by those but I have loads in the garden already.

Measuring out the dark green shade cloth

Really nice pots with an olive branch design.  We have so many good pottery pots.  Don't need another

A garden or roadside shrine

My favourite.
A sort of Billy Goat Gruff gnome.
He will come home with me one day

 K bought the shade cloth, a bag of whitewash, a few bags of soil, a gardenia and a box of charcoal to fire the easter grill. 

Friday 7 April 2023


 Photos of rainbows over the island yesterday after a few hours of short sharp showers with intervals of sunshine. 

Instagram and Facebook filled up with photos taken by locals. 

The colours were extraordinarily bright and sharp. 

Here are some taken by daughters and granddaughter. 

Tuesday 4 April 2023

Greek Colour ......

 It was an interesting morning at a local cafe, sitting outside with a view of the strait.  There were only three tables occupied on this winter mid-week day, plus a man varnishing the chairs. The owners sit outside too and are always good for a gossip.  It all made for a rich array of news for everyone to chew on.  Just what the doctor ordered for K.  He was getting cabin fever.


Usual photo of glass of wine and meze (small snack)
This wine gave me a headache. I've given it up and even one glass makes me a bit woozy but it shouldn't have given me a ponokefalo (headache). I'll stick to coffee or coke zero.... I say everytime. 

I forgot the council worker who had parked his truck out front and snuck inside the cafe to have a drink where he couldn't be seen.
Then the rubbish truck came along and couldn't get past.  There was much comradely yelling and waving of hands till he came out and moved down a few yards.
I think the rubbish truck just wanted a shot of excitement. 
Of course all the cafe customers joined in shouting instructions and cheering them on.

Several fishing boats sailed past coming back from early morning fishing and accompanied by clouds of swirling seagulls

The painter of cafe chairs contributed a lot of inside info he had learnt  painting at other cafes.  This season there
are  a couple of very good tavernas closing and being turned into cafeterias. So many cafes. There was the latest on who had been taken off to hospital in the ambulance the night before, who had died and who was about to. 
The taverna news turned into stories from days gone by and the woman drinking next to us, to our great delight, started telling tales about one of K's cousins.  She obviously didn't know who we were and nobody told her.  K has some very dubious cousins.  Colourful characters shall we say.   

This cousin worked in many of the tavernas back in the tourist heyday of the 80's.  He was a draw for the tourists, loud and colourful.  He often broke into impromptu greek dancing, had a glass of wine at every table, shouted free drinks to his friends (and relatives), and was not very good at arithmetic.  The woman next to us was a taverna owner back in the day and she was telling stories of him wasting money and promising free food and drink, flirting with the pretty young tourists, said his writing was so dreadful no-one could read his orders and he could never manage to add up the bill properly.
I'm not surprised.  He grew up with his grandparents in a mountain village and probably only went to school for the first year.
Even though he was short and latterly almost toothless he managed to have three partners, one a young dutch girl and had three legitimate children and possibly a few more, from his days of roaming the world working as a deck hand on greek merchant ships.

His show piece was picking up a table in his teeth in the middle of a greek dance, probably why his teeth fell out.  There were always great  cheers and a breaking of a plate or two.  You were allowed to break plates back then but the tourists soon found out it wasn't cheap when they got the bill - made out by the owner.

He danced with a full glass of wine balanced on his forehead too.  A real showman and the foreigners lapped it up, and the girls flocked around.  

A note
My younger brother reminded me they met the cousin here 35 years ago. He  mentioned some details I have left out. The cousin was a classic Greek male. He always left half his shirt buttons open so everyone could see his flashy gold cross and chain resting on his  hairy chest. Supposed to impress. 'Supposed'. 

There were  a few of these types on the island. All memorable, not always pleasantly, with what they believed was that irresistible Greek male style. Long hair, shirt open to the waist, gold chains, their ability to leap about and do acrobatic Greek dancing,  their supreme confidence that no woman could resist their 'charm'. 

Saturday 1 April 2023

Garden. Spring Clean Up

 .Every year around this time we have a young lad to come and clean up the back yard.  This year the weeds were waist high and the clover was lush.  We've had Albanian lads, a greek, a Bulgarian, our next door neighbour who actually raked the earth afterwards and this year it was a pleasant young Pakistani.  He did a better job than most though he didn't rake the dirt.  That was going a bit too far.  I don't mind a bit of roughness.  This is the back garden, K's territory and there are still piles of junk along the edges.  Anyway, this lad weeded under the fruit trees, actually pulling out the weeds by the roots.  Job well done.

While I do find all the greenery soothing and the clover does die away in the heat of summer you couldn't actually see what was underfoot.

The other side. 
There's a grapevine under there somewhere
That's a large sprawling jasmine climbing up over the balcony roof

And after
I couldn't persuade him to throw away any treasures this year but it looks a lot better

The other side.
That silver cylinder is a bbq which K made from an old water heater.
Its lined with fire bricks and is so heavy it's going to need quite a few strong men to move it into position....
which is unfortunately on my nice clean kitchen balcony.
Ti na kanoume
What can I do?
Try and not complain

One of the lemon trees with it's carpet of greenery
This is my area, the front of the house

Orange and yellow nasturtiums

Blogger Northsider Dave was talking about his Irish gorse last week.  I'm sure this is gorse.  This is the wild paddock next door.  There's quite a lot around us but not enough for it to be a menace the way it is in New Zealand.  The wild goats will probably find it soon

K bought this flower for me for International Women's Day on March 8.  Nice of him wasn't it.
The green leafy pot behind it is celery grown from the root of a bunch we bought in the supermarket over winter