Sunday 27 August 2023

Fresh Lemonade


Our lemons are falling faster than we can deal with them.  We've given away bags and bags of them.  Time for drastic action.
I juiced dozens and dozens of the darn things and shall do another lot tomorrow.   This first lot of juice has been made into lemonade concentrate.

        I boiled 
- 1 big mug of water 
- 1 big mug of sugar
till the sugar dissolved.  Added
-  one big mug of lemon juice.  

When it cooled I put it all into glass jars and into the fridge.

To make lemonade fill a glass with 1/3 of the concentrate and fill up with ice and water.

If you don't like it sweet, add more juice and less sugar.

The rest of the juice goes into ice cube trays or into small plastic bottles and into the freezer.  There they'll join the 3 or 4 bottles that are there from 2 years ago.  We hardly think of the frozen juice because we always have fresh outside in the garden.

Wednesday 23 August 2023

Photos of Summer

It's very hot again, the meltemi winds are strong and don't bring much relief.

Greece is a raging inferno.  Uncontrolled wildfires have destroyed homes, lives, villages  in Northern Greece and now fires are burning out of control around Athens.  

Skies are dark here and ash blows in from the east but so far the island is safe.


Our local watering hole
We have some shade from the intense heat under a sprawling tree which reaches out over the shallows

On Sunday the place was packed with cars and bodies.
The last few days the forest roads have been closed off and no-one is allowed up here except residents.  The beach has been empty.  Only the local crowd that gather every year.  K has company to gossip with as they all bob about in the sea.

The forest areas are out of bound for everyone and fire patrols continue with the Council, the Navy School, the Fire Deparment and Volunteers patrolling day and night

Just before the lock down we had a family bbq.  But NOT a bbq on coals.  The grilling was done on an electric grill placed inside the big old bbq.  It worked very well.

Octopus and ouzo were the main menu but K would never stop at that.  There was enough to feed 3 families and have a few leftovers.  As usual.

Looking toward the main town and the blue and white clocktower

Coffee by the sea.
A small fishing boat

Trying to stay positive in the face of heatwaves, fires, earthquakes, flooding, eruptions and wars all over the globe.

The wild goats have arrived for their evening drink.  I can hear them climbing up on Vaso's stone walls to get at the olive branches and their rank smell is drifting in through the open window.

Wednesday 16 August 2023

Water Without the Goats


The digger is digging a trench for new water pipes.
WAS digging.  He got 1/3 of the way up the road and stopped.  And drove his digger away

But the pipe has been delivered
Quite a few days ago

And temporary patching up done

Why do the workmen always leave such a doggone mess
The base of this olive tree is littered with plastic water bottles, empty cans, bits of pipe and that big piece of cardboard. 
I used to pick it all up.  I won't this time.  I'll wait till the whole damn thing is over and done with

More workmen have just arrived, a different team every time, to put another temporary patch on yet another leak,  It's turned into a Greek comedy worthy of Socrates or Aristophanes

Monday 14 August 2023

15th August

All of Greece is on holiday.  Except those that aren't.  Supermarket workers, coffee servers, waiters and cooks for a start.
Those in the tourist industry have 2 more weeks to make as much money as they can before the rush back to the cities begins.  Schools re-open in a month

15th August is the biggest festival in Greece.  It is a religious holiday marking the Dormition  of the Virgin Mary.  

 Orthodox Greece closes down for a week, as does Catholic Europe.  Many thousands of Athenians have already sailed for the islands or motored to their family homes and villages, wherever that may be.  Athens is empty except for the tourists and the tourist workers.

The photo above is of Poros harbour.  There are about 80 yachts anchored out there, besides the dozens already tied up to the dock.
One of the boats is a catamaran belonging to Rafael Nadal, the great spanish tennis player.  He was photoed at one of the cafes and family fans took off to find him for a selfie.  He had already retreated back to his yacht.

Poros is over-full on land and sea.

Many of the islands will have huge fiestas, religious cermeonies and parades for the Virgin Mary (Panagia).  Village squares will be filled with tables and chairs, there will be live music from the bouzouki, lute and violin and Greek dancing till the wee hours.  Pigs and goats will be roasted and barrels of wine emptied. 

On Poros though nothing much is happening. We will be going to a name day celebration at night. Souvlaki with the extended family.
I hope it stays cool-ish

Poros roads have become one-way because of the endless parked cars on either side.  All tavernas, cafeterias, beaches and public spaces are choked with visitors, Greek and foreign.  It's a time to hide.

'X' marks the spot.  That narrow little white house with the blue shutters is where we used to live.  Right in the middle of a confusion of houses.  Now daughter Elli lives there with her family. 

Taste of Summer

 Recently I cooked MOUSSAKA, the traditional summer dish of Greece

 It uses the most prolific of summer vegetables, tomatoes, aubergines (eggplant) and zucchini (courgettes).  If you don't want the minced beef you can leave that out and make a fresh tomato sauce instead.  But you'll miss out on that rich taste explosion. 

It's a dish most tourists have heard of even if they haven't eaten it.  There's no offal in it, no sheep's eyes, nothing unrecognisable.  Moussaka along with kalamari, tzatziki, greek salad and stuffed tomatoes are on every traditional taverna menu

  Concocted of layers of fried zucchini and aubergine (eggplant), topped off with stewed minced beef and tomato (a sort of bolognese sauce ), grated nutmeg and a bechamel (white sauce), then baked in the oven till golden brown.

It's best warm, rich and  creamy but can be eaten straight from the fridge the next day and the day after that till it's all gone.  I make moussaka a couple of times during the summer.  It's quite a business preparing all those layers but worth it every time.

In recent years I baked the zucchini and aubergine slices instead of frying them in olive oil and filled it out with another layer of finely sliced boiled potato.

Not this time, by gosh.  Olive oil is at the top of my dietary list.  I fried those zucchini and aubergine till soft and golden and left out the potato all together.

It's traditional to fry them and I'm quite happy, now, to follow that fine original recipe.  These can be prepared the night before and the mince meat stewed with fresh grated tomatoes and grated nutmeg, or a stick of cinnamon.  Next day the layering is easy and only the bechamel (or cheese sauce) has to be cooked from scratch.

Half your dishes have been washed the night before and you don't break your back leaning over the frying pan.
You do need a deep dish so it doesn't bubble over when cooking.  If you want to cut perfect pieces then it has to be left to cool.  Why bother.  It's wonderful straight out of the oven as it flops all over your plate.

This post is Dedicated to All my Visitors 
Who over the years have enjoyed my moussaka and gone home to cook their own

My first dedication is to
(Debbie's) Mark
Who enjoyed all K's Greek food so much and ate my big baking dish of moussaka for days till every morsel was finished.  

Along with neices
Katy and
Who ate whatever was put in front of them, then went back to Australia and New Zealand and made their own moussaka and stuffed tomatoes and tzatziki and even  Mayeritsa, the Easter offal soup.

Special mention to Sam who K taught to spit roast the easter offal, and nephew Craig. K has great difficulty saying Craig's name so he just calls him 'Kiwi Man'.  Everyone else called him Greg.

 A huge wave to niece  Niki  and her Mum who cook superbe Greek 

Finally a special mention goes to Niki's Serbian f-in-law
Who makes his own glorious moussaka

Not that I've tried any of their back home cooking. And I probably won't . If I ever do go back I'll be eating fish n chips, meat pies and custard slices. I won't be eating Greek in NZ!!

Wednesday 9 August 2023

Out of Order

My ride

My poor old quad bike

Emphasis on the 'old'.  I've had it for 15 years and before that it was a rental bike.

It's up for retirement, or a funeral.  But not till the end of summer.

The bike has broken down twice this month, just stopped, out of the blue, in the middle of the road.   The first time I was on my way home and someone came down to help.  I free wheeled it down the mountain and a friend pushed it the rest of the way to the fix-it shop.

My grandson is working there this summer so I have a 'meson', a friend in just the right place to push your problem to a fast and positive solution, instead of being simply delayed or denied.

It's a most important part of greek life.  If you don't have a 'μεσον' (meson) you are doomed to stomp from place to place filling out forms, standing in line and waiting, and waiting.

Anyway......the bike was fixed and delivered by grandson the next day.  It still had a flat battery but they had fixed the kick start so I got it going, got it a few hundred metres down the road and it stopped again.  Great. I pushed it into the parking lot and there it stayed for a week in the searing heat of the worst heatwave.  Not likely anyone would steal it. I even left the keys in the basket on the back.

Eventually it was fixed, carburators and filters cleaned and other stuff which didn't interest me.  All I want is for it to start easily and get me here and there.

Home sweet home

It's still got a flat battery, the number plate is so rusted you can't read the numbers, the flash works but it has a temperament which only I understand.  There is no fuel gauge so I have to remember how many times I go up and down the mountain.  3 times and it needs a refill.
The back tyres need air every time I fill it up .  But, hey, it goes and it has all the paperwork.  Oh and it's a bit noisy.

Like Lazarus it has been miraculously brought back to life. 

I'm using it now to go up and down to the beach and down to the nearest grocery shop.  Otherwise I use the car.   

Monday 7 August 2023

Goats and the Garden

The title is Goats AND the garden and not Goats IN the garden thank goodness, although I did leave the street gate open the other night. That would have been fun, chasing goats out of the garden at some ungodly hour in still ungodly heat.

It's a jungle out there

This is part of our grapevine which hangs over the wall into the driveway of our english neighbours.  It often needs pruning or they would be driving through a forest of projecting vines.

The water from our burst pipes (still broken and pouring out water) flows down this driveway and the grapevine must be drinking up the moisture.  At the beginning of summer it looked as though we were going to have a good harvest of grapes.  Since then most of the bunches have withered and dried.  But the foliage has taken over as never before.  The vine must be putting all of it's strength into producing those leaves and canes.  Some of them are thicker than my thumb, a couple of metres long, very strong and hard to prune.
I have pruned what I can by hanging over our terrace but it's just too difficult. I can't get onto the driveway till they return because the gate is padlocked. Young grandchildren, who easily climb down there, are all busy working this summer and Poppi is training for a big national rowing competition in September.


Meanwhile our herd of goats trot down to drink water every morning and evening.
The piece of land further down is abandoned and was full of long dry grass, a real fire hazard.  The goats have trimmed most of that down and they've trimmed all the olive trees as well.  I reward them with bundles of any prunings from the garden and plants that would normally go on the compost heap.

Today we have a water cut because our local reservoir has drained dry. The whole area is without water. They'll keep the water off till the tank refills.  Don't know how that happened??? 

Of course when the water returns everyone, including me, will be frantically using it to wash dishes, empty toilets and have a shower. Ftoo and back to an empty reservoir once more. 
I had better fill up a couple of buckets  to be ready for the next water cut. 

Thursday 3 August 2023

The Full Moon


This stunning photo was taken by
at the August 2023 full moon beach party

Described as a magic night full of dancing, latin and traditional greek, on the sands of Kanali beach, Poros.  

Poppi is away in Athens taking the first part of her motor bike drivers licence today. Good luck Poppi mou.
She just phoned, passed the written test. Of course, there was no doubt about that, says her Nana!!  No mistakes at all.  
Driving test in a few weeks.
Only 17 but I can't talk. I got my driver's licence less than a month after my 16th birthday. Those were the days  my friend ......

This is a super moon and there will be 2 of them this month.  The second full moon is on the 31st and it's one of those rare, once in a blue moon-s.

Last night and the night before the moon was brilliant.  As it came up over the hills in front of us it looked as though the olive groves were on fire.  K even went and got the binoculars to check it wasn't a fire.
It looks larger and brighter because it is at its closest to earth, so they say.  It's going to appear like this for 3 nights.  
Full moon in September will also be a super moon.

Archealogical sites are open till midnight on the night of the August full moon. Entrance is free.  The Acropolis used to be open too but in recent years it was decided it was too dangerous to let hundreds of people climb up and down the slippery marble steps after dark.
The best place to see the full moon over the Parthenon, the temple on top of the Acropolis, would be on the roof garden of an Athens hotel with a cold drink in one hand and your camera in the other.

Here on Poros we used to have a piano recital up at the ancient site where the temple to sea god mighty Poseidon once stood.  Covid changed all that and now we have a beach party instead.

Mind you, entrance is always free and the temple site is open day and night so anyone wanting to tread ancient ruins under the light of this brightest celestial body is welcome to do so.  Who knows what apparitions might appear.  A not so ancient goat or the fleeting shadows of feasting citizens from years gone-by.