Friday 30 June 2023

Onward and UPward

 The bubbling has turned into a geyser today.

I took several photos and a video and ran through the water fountain a couple of times. It was delightfully refreshing .  We could do with one of these come the next heatwave 

Our local councillor has just come up for a look and is in deep discussion with K.

No lightening or thunderbolts .....yet

Thursday 29 June 2023


 A long and bitter laugh.

I've just gone out to move the car.  Another pipe has burst higher up

Zeus is charging his thunderbolts 

Water, Water, Everywhere

Traditional Greek stands on the road
Kicking up a dreadful stink
Water, water everywhere
Soon not a drop to drink
Pipes along the road a wreck
Water gushing all the way
Screams to mighty Zeus above
'Make those misbegotten peasants pay'
The angry Greek stands on the road
Nerves all ready to explode

Yes, it didn't take long
 The last leak, spurting out like a fountain, was fixed 8 days ago.
Then all of a sudden all hell seemed to let loose.  Water started pouring out in four different places.
One of the big gushers was outside our front gate and it flowed straight onto next doors driveway.

A few more phone calls, the video posted to the Water-person-in-charge and facebook.

The very next day the pipe-fixing-crew turned up. They were here for 6 hours patching up as best they could.   It's not really their fault, the whole piping system needs changing.  The boss man says he's been to fix our pipes at least 20 times and I'm sure that's true.  I have photos starting from last September but the problem started over a year ago.

We are on the list for a major fix-it operation.

Watch this space but don't hold your breath.

And immediately phones the water bod, sends photos and video and demands Immediate action

Monday 26 June 2023

Around About

 What's up?  With the second round of elections Greece re-elected the New Democracy party with a safe majority.

The day ended in thunderstorms and heavy rain.  It was so nice, maybe the last time for many months, to go to sleep listening to the rain beating on the tiles.  Today of course is a sunshiney day but very humid.  

Good for my nasturtiums.  The tomatoes didn't get battered and the pumpkin plants grew an inch overnight.  All's well in the garden.

We are still getting dust clouds though the rain this time seems to have been cleaner and washed away the orange streaks on the car.  The last dust cloud  covered most of southern europe and even reached the Carribean.  I sometimes wonder how much sand is actually left in the Sahara.

Almost the last of the roses but they seem to have revived with the rain too.  The plant behind it is a bougainvillia.  The no-thorn variety

We have been given bunches and bunches by neighbours and I have a thriving pot of oregano in the garden.
These bunches are hanging out in the shed to dry

The last of the rugs have been washed, hung out to dry on the garden gate and are now stored away till November

The water pipe down the side of our road broke for the umpteenth time.  At this spot the pipe has broken 3 times in the last few months.  It usually takes them 3 weeks to get round to fixing a leak.
This is not just a leak!  We put this video on instagram, facebook and sent it to the Mayor. the 'gang' was here before 8 the next morning to fix it.  But I wonder how long it will hold.

Wednesday 21 June 2023

Greek Baptism

The Baptism and Wedding season continues
This time we were invited to a neighbourhood baptism.  When you're compiling your guest list there is a tradition here to invite most of the neighbourhood as well, hence our invite.  The ceremony took place at a small church nearby and the reception was at Paradise Taverna our local traditional-greek eating place.

The church is dedicated to greek saint Agios Stathi
The little boy was baptised Stathi after the saint. 

His mother says in times of trouble she goes there,  lights a candle and asks for help.  And he listens

As  often happens the church is so small that the font is dragged outside and the ceremony takes place out in the yard in front or in this case, on the side 'terrace'.
Priests and important people gather close.
The rest of us just stand out in the road chatting till it's over.
Only this time there was a glitch.  There were two priests.  Who didn't agree.  One priest started the service.  The other priest stopped him after about 10 minutes and very publicly told him off for not including some (unnecessary) piece of the liturgy and made him start again.
No, no, no
 Most of the guests, like us, lined up along the road in the, now midday, sun were very annoyed.  In fact I started to feel a bit dizzy and me and my english friend went into the church in search of shade and a chair.  We found an empty church and 4 chairs!  Thank goodness.  The service dragged on and on. 

Besides my traditional Greek there was a traditional Scotsman as well.  

My traditional Greek and Bf

As soon as the priest/s announced the name of the baby we took off down to the taverna for a cold drink and a seat under the vines
All the foreigners were seated together, the Scotsman and his wife, my friend and I and an american we have known for many years.  They had placed 2 greek couples at the table as well, K's best friend (a huge relief he had a pal to gossip with) and another greek couple from the neighbourhood who spoke english.  A good combination.
I can truly say that a good time was had by all. Having a friend and ally next to me who speaks the same language makes a tremendous difference. I've could have almost done a Scottish reel myself.  Almost. 

At each setting there was a 'dipla' (sweet pastry), and a bag of sugared almonds

We were served salads, cheeses, savouries, tzatziki and a pasta dish, supposed to fill you up before the platters of meat and potatoes.
Platters of pork and potatoes were the second course and those that 
stayed till the end were rewarded with platters of plain old boiled mutton. Traditional Greeks love a bit of mutton after a day of drinking.  

'Pudding' was cold blanc-mangey  with strawberry sauce! I ate the blancmange but pretended to myself it was part of my diet because I scraped off (most) of the strawberry sauce. 
After a few glasses of wine I couldn't resist.

There was plenty to eat and drink.  Numerous people were openly filling plastic bags with big chunks of meat from the table, leftovers or not, and bones to be taken back to dogs.  


It started to cloud over after a while and the sun lost it's heat.  Later in the afternoon there were a few sprinkles of rain, but never enough to douse the 'kefi' (high spirits)

Random photos

Under the grapevines
A lovely scene
The ground is just dirt though.
Long dresses and trews get dirty hems and cuffs and my sandals filled with grit.
Mustn't complain though.
It's all part of the party.
I knew it would happen with open sandals.

Children's playground helps the children to burn off excess energy. They usually burn it off by racing in and out of the tables.  

Cake stand

A general theme of blue and white to keep that evil eye away 

We were only a few hundred metres from home so like most foolhardy Greeks we mounted our (motor) bikes and drove, safely, home. 

Sunday 18 June 2023



No, ice cream it is NOT

There's a new 'sensation' going round the keto, low carb diet sites at the moment.  Cottage cheese icecream.
The recipe is very simple with few ingredients. So, I thought I'd give it a try.  So you DON'T have to.

What's it got in it.
- A tub of cottage cheese
- some sort of sweetener.  I used stevia, but you could use honey, maple syrup
- some sort of fruit.  Strawberries, a banana.  You get the idea
- I used a tsp of sugar free cherry jelly crystals

Put it all into a mixer or blender and blend till  that lumpy cottage cheese turns smooth

Put it in the freezer for a few hours.  I divided mine into 3 small containers.

Thank goodness they were small.  You would NOT want to eat a large portion of this stuff.

Ice cream is supposed to be cold, creamy and sweet.  

I didn't put any fruit in but used a bit of vanilla powder to cut down on calories and carbs.
Ok, it was a frozen dessert.  But it wasn't sweet or creamy.
I should have put some alcohol in it. But all we've got is raki and ouzo 🤢

Don't bother unless you're on a very strict diet and are in desperate  need of something slightly reminiscent of a sugar shot.

I've just eaten the second container.  It had been in the freezer for 24 hours so was frozen solid.  Being me, and damn impatient I put it in the microwave for 20 seconds.  
Now that's another experience to write about.  The bottom of the container was hot and the cottage cheese had reverted to chewey cheese.   So I had hot,chewey cheese cherry icecream.  I really should have chucked it.  But NO.

So I've still got another small (65 gram) container of this 'stuff' in the freezer.  I'll let it defrost a little before I shovel it down.  Sometime.  For emergencies only.  I haven't eaten sweets, cakes, icecream for months and didn't need this.

Naturally I didn't stop there.  We have 2 x200 gram tubs of lactose free yoghurt in the fridge which is passed it's expiry date.  I made tzatziki with one tub.  Not a great success either.  We only bought lactose free because it was half the price of the other greek yoghurt.  You really do need full fat, strained greek yoghurt for the best tzatziki.

 I decided to experiment with the other tub.  You'd have thought I would have learnt my lesson with the cottage cheese.  But NO.
So into the mixer went the tub of lactose free, 2 vanilla powders, a tsp of cocoa powder and some stevia.  When I licked the spoon it tasted better than the cottage cheese but it's going to turn out the same, a hard as rocks, slightly sour, poor relation for ice cream.  I shan't put it in the microwave.  I'd probably get curds and whey.

I shan't experiment again.

Last summer when my little brother and family were here they found sugar free ice cream in the icecream parlour on the waterfront.  He does keto to control his diabetes. No sugar.  Now THAT was icecream!  Sugar free, probably full of fat, which is not a problem, icy and creamy.  I helped him  'get rid' of it.  Yum, yum eat it up.

I've kept away from the icecream parlour since then but ......

Wednesday 14 June 2023


 We have collected more treasures!

These apparently are bed bases chucked out from one of the big hotels which had an upgrade over the winter.  What's he going to do with them?  He says they'll be turned into shelving?
What do you bet they're still there this time next year and are thrown away ?

And this horrid rusty old bbq?
Which he asked his friend to bring round?
Thank goodness it's gone now.
He cut off some, apparently valuable (to him), rusty part  and thankfully threw the rest in the rubbish

How about this odd shaped white 'thing' leaning up against the bougainvillia?
We have a reputation for collecting 'treasures' it seems.  This suddenly appeared out of nowhere one afternoon.
K asked around and found out one of our neighbours had this odd bathroom heater he didn't want (uses too much expensive electricity) and decided we would love it.  
No way!!  He was told so very clearly and was supposed to come and remove it.  He didn't, so I did.  It's out in the road, leaning up against a wall.  It's forecast to rain tomorrow.  I hope it does


Chapter 2

We've had a run of bad luck recently.  Give us a collective spit would you.  Someone has put the evil eye on us

They're coming to take me away, ha, ha
Our car started acting peculiarly. It started, went a few metres and wouldn't move.  So along came the tow truck, over on the car ferry, down our narrow lane with it's tight turn and carried it away to our local repair place.   Insurance even paid for  the car ferry . 
An hour later our friendly mechanic over on the mainland, who didn't charge us anything, phoned to say it was fixed.  Ehh?  So what was wrong with it?  
Greek ferrets, called kounavia, had bitten through a cable.  A great thick cable. He had a spare on hand and replaced it on the spot. A bit of good luck there.
Now we have bags of mothballs hanging all around the engine.
Damn ferrets

To conclude -
Chapter 2

- I smashed the glass of the oven door and we have to buy a new oven.
The hinges were wonky and I forgot and opened the door wide without holding it up.  The door smashed into the tiles below.  I suppose it's a blessing the tiles weren't smashed either.
   K is inspecting rubbish bins and recycling to see if he can replace the door without having to buy the whole oven.  
The ceramic rings on top work and we have another oven outside so I'm not too worried about that

- The dishwasher started flooding the kitchen.  K had recently repaired it so he decided there was a blocked outlet.  And he was right.  After a lot of swearing the pipes were unblocked and it's working like new.

- The outside sink was clogged and that's where he prepares the fish and meat he cooks.  The water wouldn't drain away.  So another few metres of wire were poked down the outlet pipe till that cleared too.

- Our brand new printer won't print.  It was working fine but is now crumpling the paper and of course won't print.  We've changed the type of paper and shone a torch down to see if something has fallen in.  Nothing.  There's got to be some simple reason but we haven't found it yet

Spit spit spit 
And turn ourselves around

Monday 12 June 2023

Greek Family

 This week we've had a family visitor. A cousin of K's is keeping us company. He's from another island, Salamina.  We lived there for a couple of years, a long time ago.  It's the site of the big Naval Base of Greece.    He has the same name as K, christian and surname.  That often happens here.   They are identified by using the name of their fathers.  One is K Tz, son of George and the other K Tz, son of Thanassi.

He's almost 80, a whirlwind of energy.


The Two K's

One of our outings was  to nearby Methana, a seaside village under our local volcano.  Then up and over the hill to the enclosed harbour of Vathi for a fish lunch.  They both have their roots in small villages on the Methana Peninsular and we drove slowly so they could point out places they recognised.

Entering Methana the sea is a cloudy aquamarine and the air is thick with the smell of sulphur.  Once there was a public spa where the elderly and inflicted could bathe in sulphurous water to cure all sorts of ailments.  Now the  sulphurous water flows into the sea and you can have a free natural sea treatment.

We had a coffee in the main town and then up the hill and over to the other side of the peninsular

The enclosed harbour of Vathi.
Meaning deep waters I presume.  There are lots of places called 'Vathi' in Greece as there are quite a few named 'Poros', meaning passage.

The people here are either fishermen with their own kaiki or run a fish taverna.

The quayside is covered in tables and chairs

And there are yachts tied up here from all over the world
I walked along and found the flags of Hong Kong, Switzerland, Germany, France

And one from Poland was just pulling in
They come in for lunch after a sail from one of the marinas up the coast from Athens, only an hour or so away

We had horta, greens with olive oil and lemon juice

Fresh grilled kalamari
Only it wasn't fresh but frozen.  The 2 K's are fishermen and know their kalamari.  First of all this is not the kalamari season and secondly the three kalamari did not have the right 'moustaches' to have been freshly caught.  Don't ask me.  But they seemed to be sure about it.

Frozen kalamari is better fried and my K was most indignant that he had been fobbed off with frozen, especially as the owner is a distant cousin and she had assured him of it's freshness.  
We can't have an outing without a bit of drama.  This is life with a Greek.  Fortunately his cousin managed to keep the drama low key.

The meal was not a success.  We were also given a plate of 'fava'.  Split pea puree.  Think 'pease pudding' if you're British.  Fava is usually eaten with fresh sliced onion and lots of oil.  However, the other cousin with us squeezed a ton of lemon juice over it.  Lemon juice goes on most things here, even fried eggs.  But not on Fava.  Oh boy.  There were a few words exchanged there because K refused to eat either the kalamari or the fava.  
Thankfully there were fried potatoes and those, with the horta, bread and wine, managed to keep the wolf from the door.

To finish off we were given fried dough balls with chocolate sauce
I didn't have any of these but I did have a glass of wine
I needed it

And a shot of homemade liqueur 

I enjoyed myself.  Most of the time.  

These three cousins have very different personalities and there are always many clashes when they're together.  My K does not hesitate to let everyone know his feelings on a subject.  There is also the question of who pays when we are all out together.  Most times the bill is split 3 ways but visiting cousin likes to make a timely 'visit to the loo' near the end of the meal and tries to pay for it all.  Not on when he's a visitor!  We would lose face.
Third cousin finds a friend he has to speak to at the next table when its time to pay or discovers he hasn't brought any money with him. 

Now it's time to recouperate before another baptism celebration. 

Tuesday 6 June 2023


The biggest church fiesta on Poros actually takes place not on the island but across on the mainland.  Its the celebration of the Madonna of Mercy,  Agia Eleousa.
Behind Plaka beach is a small church that you're barely aware of except on its fiesta days June 3 and 4.  Everybody, but everybody from Poros, Galatas and surrounding villages visits, usually on the eve of the actual date, to light a candle, listen to a little of the service and then walk up the road to inspect the market stalls.  

Agia Eleousa decked out in its 'Sunday best'
The church is so small that the congragation must stand outside. There's a line to buy candles to light and leave in the containers of sand.  After the candle rite, the faithful approach the decorated icon of the Virgin, cross themselves, kiss the icon and back away.  Some stay to listen to the service before moving on and leaving room for newcomers.

At the finish the Priest hands out small cubes of Holy Bread which you receive and then many kiss his hand.   I have only done this once and I got a strange look from the priest who obviously knew I was a foreigner and probably doubted my faith.  Rightly so.  I grabbed the bread and moved away fast.
Then there are many many loaves of sweet bread which are sliced into big chunks.  This is what I liked, when I still ate bread.  Its sweet and a bit spicy, every loaf different, depending on the housewife or baker.  You take a hunk, or two and wander off  munching contentedly. 

In line for candle lighting

After the formalities its time for shopping therapy.  The road outside is lined with stalls selling underwear, toys, cheap jewellery, knick-knacks and clothes.  The food stalls sell grilled corn, fried dumplings with honey or nutella, and pastelli, bars of sesame seeds and honey.
It's a tradition to buy knickers but I wasn't impressed by them this year.  K bought a few pairs of boxer shorts and we all bought sox.  6 pairs for 6 euros.  

The biggest attraction for the men.
Roast pig.  A whole pig is on the bench and you chose the piece you want which is hacked off and wrapped in grease proof paper to take home.  15 euros a kilo.
These market stalls are getting fewer and fewer.  There used to be at least half a dozen pork sellers but this year it was just this one.  The men in days gone by would spend an hour walking up and down the road, inspecting and discussing the pig situation before deciding which seller to buy from and which piece to have chopped up for them.
This year K was not at all impressed by the roast pork.  First of all it wasn't cooked on the spit but in the oven and there was far too much fat.  He didn't buy any but many did. The seller was a busy pork peddler.

The easiest way to get to the Panagyri, fiesta, is by taxi boat
I hate these little boats.  I have difficulty getting in and out of them without assistance.  Going was ok.  There was a young chap to hold the 'old lady's' hand and help her down.  Coming back there was no help.  I misjudged the height of the step and literally tumbled into the damn boat.  Fortunately I fell 'in'  onto the lino-ed floor and not 'out' into the sea and wasn't hurt.  Well, my pride was but hell, it's not the first time I've fallen in public, though I haven't done it for a long time .  At least now I can get up by myself and don't need a rugby team to grab hold of me and drag me upright.

Getting off the boat
Easy if you're a youngster

Look who we met there
The famous Bitouni sisters
Two of our grand-daughters
We met the other grand-daughter too wandering around the stalls with friends and 20 euros burning in her pocket, but she's camera shy.

K loves occasions like this .  He literally knows everyone and makes slow progress to the church and up the road as he stops every few metres to greet friends, family and acquaintances he hasn't seen since the last fiesta.

For those who really know how to celebrate a fiesta there are chairs and tables set out on the sands of the nearby beach and a live orchestra and singers who belt out traditional eastern Greek sounds till dawn. The taverna sells cans of beer, whiskey, roast pork served on baking paper, Greek salad, tzatziki with plastic knives and forks. Hundreds sit down to listen to the music and dance. I did it once, maybe twice.  You really have to be Greek to enjoy this sort of entertainment.

All a lot of fun for some.  I don't think I'll be going next year.

Sunday 4 June 2023

Highlight this Week

 An English birthday party. With real English, maybe British is more correct, men, and women, a couple of Scandanavians, a South African born and a kiwi born.

We meet at Babis Taverna, Galatas, across the waters, right by the car ferry. 
So handy when going across to the mainland. The taverna is right in front of you when you reach the other side of the strait. On the return journey the ferry is only a few steps away and it's a case of roll on-roll off. 

This winter the taverna has been painted, cleaned and the loos have finally been refitted, refurbished, redecorated. 
There are 2 loos now. One for men and one for women.  That's a huge 'hurrah'. They're nicely tiled, the doors lock and the light comes on automatically. Just one word of caution. If you spend too long in there the light turns itself off. Be quick about your 'business' otherwise you'll be pulling things up and groping about in the dark.

Here we all are, at the end of the meal

Babis has a traditional Greek menu and you chose from a showcase of baking trays. 
Stuffed tomatoes and peppers, aubergines stuffed with feta and onions, moussaka, roast pork and chicken with lemon potatoes. 

Here we are trying to decide what to eat. 
I'm still on my carnivore kick so my choice was easy, a big beef patty stuffed with cheese, bifteki in Greek. 
We had plates of tzatziki on the table, Greek salad and toasted bread with olive oil and oregano. 
Wine, water or a cold Alpha beer.

I brought a box of chocolate cakes and someone brought a heavenly cream and caramel cake with a candle. The taverna doesn't mind storing it in their fridge till its 'afters' time and they provide plates and spoons.
There were rumbles of 'where's the pudding? Rhubarb crumble and custard'? 
Not here
We sang Happy Birthday. It wasn't my birthday thank goodness. 
It was my English friends birthday and it has become somewhat of a tradition for us to gather at this taverna. 
Most of us have lived on the island for years but we stay  in our own circles and hardly see each other except for a brief chat in the grocers shop or a wave as we pass on the road. 
It's so nice to catch up on all the news, in a language that flows easily and is understood by all at the table. 
It ends up at around 15 euros a head. A very reasonable price. 
Of course we all say we've got to meet again soon. Some do but I don't. I'm usually tied up with family and our Greek friends. 
Never mind. We will do it again next year. 

Thursday 1 June 2023

Run Run Run

Porosea is a sports event which takes place yearly on the island and is very popular with locals and athletes from all over the country.  It's called a 'multi-sport' competition and includes running, swimming, triathlon and aquathlon.  Some of our family always take part.

The first race is 1,500 metres for those under 18. Dozens of school kids took part and they all received a 'medal' at the finish, along with a bottle of water and a banana. There was great excitement, and a lot of noise, when they took off.  
The 5ks was also run by a lovely black dog and his owner and a babe in a pushchair.  An 80 year old ran the 10ks. He came in a long time after the others had finished but was cheered on all along the route. 

It takes place over a weekend and for 2 days our few roads are closed down for several hours. 

The island was teeming with cars and people again, athletes and summer visitors. I noticed how popular these darn electric scooters are

This sort of thing, 
which can be ridden by any age group, without a licence, without a helmet and without insurance.  I'll rant about these another time

On Saturday we made sure we were down on the harbour well before they blocked access so we could be at the start line of the 5 and 10 kilometre races.  Grandaughter ran 10ks and her mother ran the 5ks.
Others in the family were volunteers.  And others spectators, like me, with my trusty camera ready to record the day, for the blog and instagram

Just finished racing 5ks Daughter on the right with friend Maria

Grand-daughter and rowing medal winner ran 10ks in her new NZ rowing outfit

Next race she'll be wearing the Australian rowing suit

Poppi on the left, with friend Evita, looks as though she's hardly sweating after the 10ks.
Actually she was dripping and that hat was sopping wet
They were lucky, they didn't run till after 6pm and the sun went behind the clouds as they started running

A very short spot

Greeks don't need an excuse to dance.  These kids suddenly started dancing in the road while they were waiting for the first athletes to finish

Poppi won the gold medal for her age group but had disappeared by the time they gave out the medals.  Mum stepped up to the stage instead and very happily received the gold medal on her behalf, with a great wave to all her fans 

I waited so long at the finish line to get everyone's photo that I ended up being interviewed myself.  Actually she was asking me why I wasn't dancing in the road with the young kids next to me.  No way that was going to happen