Friday, December 24, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tuesday through the window

This weekend finally was our bazaar. And it was a great success. Every year we are dreading it and every year we are glad we did it again. This year we had decided not to take part with the crafting side but just concentrate on our"trademark" and successnumbers which are the gluehwein for the adults and the playroom for the children. More than 350 children came and enjoyed the simple but fun games. Face-painting, the balloon figures and the lucky dip were amongst the favorites as every year.

And today it tuesday again. This time a picture from the kitchenwindow where you can see one reindeer (the other one is in the garden) and Santa's sleigh. Santa himself is hanging on the outside wall. These figures were made years ago by a very dear friend. She gave them to me when she decided to move back to Oregon in the States. She probably will never see this picture but I am so happy with them and they are a proud feature every Christmas and a special reminder of a special friend whose company is missed by us.
In the right side of the picture you can see a lemontree but on the ground are the oranges that fall down during the storm we had this weekend with strong southwinds. Today there is no sign of storm and I am glad too because in 2 hours my youngest son and I are off by ship to the mainland where we will be buying his very first suit for the big schoolparty on Christmas day.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Last preparations

Just 2 more days until our Christmas bazaar. As every year we are organizing a whole lot of childrens' games. You know, the old fashioned ones, with throwing rings, and tin cans and such and of course a lucky dip. We had to wrap about 300 little presents. We set up a little production line and with coffee, cakes, walnutliqueur and some chatting we were finished in no time.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The sailors' prayers

A poetic evening last night, dedicated to the poet Nikos Kavvadias. In memory of his birth year which was 100 years ago a group of our high school students organized an evening with poetry and music.
Nikos Kavvadias was a lover of the sea, worked on the ships and traveled the world like so many Greek seamen. He wrote poetry and short stories about life on board and about mysterious and exotic countries far away.
Some of his poems have been put to music. This wonderful combination of poetry and popular and still traditional music that speaks to and comes straight from the heart.
Difficult to choose just one because I like all the songs. I want to share this one because of the translation in the video.

What I didn’t know was that one of his short stories, published after his death, had been made into a film: “Between the devil and the deep blue sea” with one of my favorite actors Stephen Rea.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Let me introduce.......

A world premiere and exclusive:

The green fox is making his very first appearance right here, right now.

Stay tuned for more, soon

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tuesday through the window

The difference between last weeks picture and this one is about 20 degrees! Last week I was seriously considering a swim (didn't go) and today I was looking for my woolly gloves (couldn't find). Christmas ornaments are out and the tree is up. I dare say we have the most kitsch tree on the island .... but I love it. It is full of the ornaments we collected over the last 20 years. Many of them handmade. No trendy tree in our house. If you think you can handle is a (again not so clear) picture I just took:

Fireplace and candles are burning, it is a cosy time of the year. Also a very busy time. This weekend we have the annual Christmasbazaar. Our women's club started it more than 20 years ago and now it is a major event which everybody enjoys very much. There will be gluhwein and handmade wreaths and ornaments, cooky baking, crafting and much more.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tuesday through the (not so) winter window

Through Corrie's blog I discovered last week the "tuesday through the window photo hop" organized by Julie at Swedish House. It was too late to join as it already was wednesday. But today I remembered and I thought it would be nice to share the view from my window, which doesn't remind in the least of winter, Christmas, December, candle light, wood fire burning, reindeer, snow, jingle bells, hot chocolate, speculaasjes, Sinterklaas -who unfortunately has never been to this island- or Santa Claus.
But .......I am not complaining.
Might go for a swim instead......
As usual my photo is not so good and doesn't do justice to this beautiful, sunny, clear sky day but you get the idea.

Friday, December 3, 2010

It is time

I am so lucky to live on this beautiful island that I call my home for 26 years now. It is not always easy; living on a small island has its restrictions but we are compensated so much with the beautiful nature and a quality of life that I know a lot of people are dreaming about.

One very important thing though is missing and that is the possiblity of recycling. It hurts me so much to know that we produce so much rubbish and it all ends up in a landfill. And I have to admit I am as active in filling this landfill as any one else. The term recycling comes up all the time, it is used in election speeches and in many more occasions. But nothing happens.

But now
It is time

Our women's group has decided to actually do something about it because it is time.

We will start small but our goals are big.

And it is all happening now.
I am actually quite excited because I know we can make it work. The reason I post it here today is that it feels like a commitment. I just want the world to know that we are going for it. And if there is anybody out there that has any tips or information or whatever....................................we still have a lot to learn.

Our plan is to start with collecting the waterbottles, of which we use thousands. But this is only the beginning.

Yes, it is happening and it is time!

Monday, November 22, 2010

What's in a name?

Yesterday I went to a baptism, a very important event for every Greek. Because this is the moment where the child finally gets its name. Until then it is just called baby. It is still very common, especially in smaller communities like our island that the children are named after the grandparents. First after the parents of the father of the child and then after the parents of the mother of the child.

Many names have a religious background and are originated from the Bible. Instead of birthdays, the Greeks celebrate name-days. Every day of the year has its own saint or even more.

Today 22nd november is the day of Valerius, Filemon and Cecil. Well known days are for example Saint Nicholas (6th December) Saint George (23rd April) Saint Dimitrios (26th October).

There is also a category of names that have a literal translation: for example Agapi (love), Elpida (hope), Irini (peace), Sofia (wisdom) and Eytixia (happiness, which is by the way my mother in law's name) but also: Paraskeyi (Friday) Kiriaki (sunday)

Another very important category of names: The ancient Greek names. These are the very same names that were common in the ancient times of Homer, Plato and Socrates.

Achileas, Alexandros, Aristidis are still very much heard today.

Very popular is to shorten the names, so you hear a lot of Makis, Takis and Sakis for the men and Koula, Voula and Soula for the women.

Unfortunately, not following the tradition of name-giving often still leads to family feuds that can last for generations.
But this will not happen with the baby on the photo above who was baptized Stamatis, after his paternal grandfather. His nameday will be 8th November together with Angelos, Angela, Efstratia, Gabriel, Matina, Metaxia, Michael, Michelle, Raphael, Stratigos and Taxiarchis. A busy day for saints!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Panagia Eikonistria

Today and tomorrow the island is celebrating its biggest local religious feast. It is in the honour of the Virgin Mary.
Around 1650 an icon of the Virgin was found in a tree in a very secluded area. A little church was built in this place to honour the icon. Later it became a monastery. In these days there are no longer monks living in the monastery but the church is still in use.
And once a year on the 20th of November, the Icon is brought from the main church in town, where it is kept, to the monastery of Eikonistria where it was found all those years ago.

This is done by foot, following the old original path to the monastery.
The icon will stay there all night together with many people who will have a feast in the old cells, with prayer but also with food, wine and music. And tomorrow morning they will walk the icon back to town.
Here are some foto's of today's beautiful walk and more can be found here

Before the start of the procession, there is a lot of shooting to welcome the icon.

It is a long but beautiful walk. In the far distance you can see the path we have to follow

Here is the view from that path.

Some do the walk on barefoot

Arrival at the monastery

The old church built in the 17th century

Saturday, November 6, 2010

What was I thinking?!

Today I did the most stupid thing you can imagine and it could have ended in a tragedy but fortunately this story has a happy end:

A group of my friends go for long walks in the mountains almost every saturday. Today was such a beautiful day and I decided to join them. We were meeting at 1 o' clock. When I left the house to walk to the meetingplace, Rollie, our little dog, was so excited to come for a walk that I decided to take her along.

What was I thinking?! Rollie is 15 years old, deaf, a little bit overweight and never has been on a mountain hike before. But she seemed so happy to come along that I couldn't leave her behind.

We drove to the starting point with two cars. We started walking and soon left the dirt road to continue the hike through olive groves, up and down mountains, through woods. It was beautiful. The views were breathtaking.

Here she is still with us.

At some point we came to another dirt road which we crossed to continue our path. This was where Rollie decided she had enough and took of on her own over the dirt track. Before I could reach her she had run away and disappeared over the hill.

Since the rest of the group had moved on, I had to follow them if I didn't want to get lost.

It was a beautiful walk but of course now we were all worried about the dog. We made stops at a couple of the little churches and I was hoping Rollie would have found her way back to the cars and would be waiting there for us.

When we finally returned to the cars, she wasn't there. That's when I realized how stupid I had been for taking her along. We drove back to town, looking out for her but there was no sign. By the time I got home I felt terribly guilty and decided to take my motorbike and return and try to find her. Well, to make a long story short.......I finally found her not far from where we had parked the cars.

My friend came to pick up the dog with her car and to drive her home and I drove back on my bike through the mountains in the pitchdark which was a little bit scary.

And now we are home recovering from this adventure.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Early this morning

It was such a peaceful sight early this moning when I looked out my kitchenwindow. The sea was like a mirror, smooth and calm. Very slowly a little boat floated by; one of the neighbors fishing for octopus that probably will turn into a lovely stew for his dinner tonight.

I just couldn't choose which photo to upload so I show you both.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Wedding bells are ringing

No, I am not getting married. Actually this week was the anniversary of my weddingday which took place 19 years ago. You see, this time of year is always very popular for weddings. Today there will be two on the island. One of them has their weddingparty at our taverna tonight . So I have been busy this morning trying to make it look pretty and a little bit romantic as well. I enjoyed the peace and quiet and set the tables, folded napkins and those things that need to be done.

What do you think, doesn't it look nice?

It will be quite a different picture tonight when 130 guests are having a good time eating and dancing. And although they will probably never read this I want to wish them a long and happy life together, but of course I shall wish them this tonight.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

ok, I am back

Well, this was a longer break than I had planned. Somehow it is difficult to get into winter-mode after a summer of concentrating on work only. But since last night the weather is helping just fine to get in the right mood for winter. It has been raining non stop and strong winds are coming from all directions and the waves are crashing against my garden wall.
Perfect weather for curling up with a nice cup of tea and some crafting. And that is exactly what I am going to do now.
My first new project will be knitting some socks with this wool that just arrived from Rita in Austria.

(I love etsy)

And that is only the beginning. There are many projects waiting to be continued and finished.

I am looking forward to a winter full of crafting and many other fun thngs to do.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

CoCo love

Last month my blogfriend artist Rawqueen from Ila Blu, in far away Jamaica had her first give away and I actually first prize ever!

So this beautiful pendant with necklace traveled from one island to an other. It arrived yesterday and is as lovely as it looks on the photo.

It was so lovingly packaged as well. I am really happy with is and will wear it very often for sure.

Thanks Stephanie!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

About flags, balloons and filmstars

Next year the Special Olympic World Summer Games 2011 will take place in Athens. Prior to the games the athletes will spend a few days in various places throughout Greece.
Our island has the honour of being the host town for the British delegation and today there was a special ceremony in the harbour where a memorandum of cooperation was signed.

Children dressed in white and holding white balloons filled the harbour.

Speeches where being held by all the officials. Amongst the guests of the event was also a famous couple, miss G. Hawn and mr. K. Russell. They were here not as Hollywood filmstars but as holiday makers with a special love for the island (they have been coming to this island for some years now) and for the Special Olympics.
Impressive was the British ambassador who spoke in perfect Greek.

Our fantastic choir sang, accompanied by the local brass band.

A delegation of athletes came from the mainland to present the official flag.

The flag was raised

and the balloons were set free.
Now we have a year ahead of us where we can make plans to make this stay unforgettable not only for the athletes and their companions but also for the local community.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Summer is here

Aah, things have changed since the last, weather related, post since we are now in the middle of a heat wave. It is only early morning but the temperature is already 33 degrees celsius and no wind.

I find it hard to keep up with blogging now that I am working full time. There are so many other things to do and sometimes I don't open the laptop for days which I have to admit is not necessarily a bad thing because I do get carried away once I start clicking around the world and come across so many sites and blogs that I like.
A little update on our Skiathos Cat Welfare Society that I wrote about in another post:
The visitor's centre
They have now a proper visitor's centre where people can get informed about their actions and buy some various cat related (and not only) items to support the charity.
That bag looks familiar!
I just love to make them.

I also left some of my seaglass pendants there to be sold.
To my big surprise quite a few people have already bought a pendant before I even took them to the visitor's centre! I find it is not so scary to sell something that you made when it is for charity but it is still quite a thrill when they actually buy it.
I haven't found any good quality pieces of seaglass lately. Maybe it is because it is summer and there are many people on the beach? I don't know. So even I would have time, I have to stop my production line anyhow because of lack of material.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Enough already!

Almost from the moment I pushed the "publish post" button last night, where I ended the story with the remark about raining cats and dogs, the skies have opened and it has been pouring like I have never seen before.

Thunder and lightning, rain..... such angry weather. Possibly one of the worst rainfalls I have ever experienced even though we had another really bad one just last year in july as well. Luckily it was over by about 10 o'clock this morning when we could start taking stock of the damages and get out shovels and brooms etc. The beach was half gone, water came down the little roads like waterfalls, our mainstreet looked like little Venice and there was mud everywhere.

But now, about 8 hours later and after a beautiful sunny day things start to look better. There is still quite some work to be done to get our beach back in shape but we will get there.

One more time nature proved to us how unpredictable and powerful it is. We were lucky, in many places in the world people are not so lucky and my heart goes out to them.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Cats and dogs

Earlier this week some Danish customers in the taverna asked me if I knew where the dog shelter was. I was happy to explain to them and show them on the map. They had seen a tv program about it on television in Denmark and were very impressed by it and wanted to visit the shelter.

Also this week there was a charity veterinarian visit from England organized by the Skiathos Cat Welfare Society. Many cats were looked after and treated and quite some neutered as well. It was also a good opportunity to take Rollie -our little dog- to the vet. She has had a little mole on her back that looked like a tick but wasn't. The vet removed it and now she has a little bold patch with stitches on her back and she is feeling a little bit sorry for herself.

And to complete the story, last night, after a long period without any, it really rained cats and dogs.

Friday, May 14, 2010


Early this morning my eldest son left for school. It is a special day because it is the first day of the national exams. This is a nerve wrecking procedure and marks the beginning of the end of their teenage years. A lot depends of the result of these exams. Maybe too much depends of the result of these exams. It is also the "highlight" of an educational system that I am sceptic and quite critical of.

But since I have decided, when I started with this blog , to concentrate on everything positive.... I just want to wish all of the nearly 94.000 students: good luck and get through these weeks with as little stress as possible.

"Everything will be alright"

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

An evening in town

Last night I went for a walk into town. It had been a while. Since the last time many shops, restaurants, cafes have opened and it is getting quite lively. A big contrast to the winter period when our little town is in a sleepy mode. As usual when I walk, the dog accompanies me but this time there were so many more people and cars on the street that she panicked -she is an old lady of 15 after all- We went to the pet shop that was luckily very near where I bought her a leash. A little bit unsure with this at first but then quite happily we walked on.
Usually when she walks with me and has enough or gets tired she walks home by herself but now she had to stay with me on this leash.

Then it was time for a rest at one of the centrally located cafes in the main street. People walking up and down and me watching and trying to read their body language: that couple looks like it is on a honeymoon; they look like they have been married too long; these two look married, but not to each other; these girls are so lucky to be sweet sixteen but why do they try so hard to look like 27 .... and so on. Probably all my guesses are wrong but who cares as long as I keep them to myself.
Friends passed by on their way home and told me that there was a do at the high school. Not surprisingly my sons hadn't told me anything ( I am convinced by now that they are trained secret service agents and that's why they never ever tell me anything ).

“The high school theatre group did a lovely performance and now our high school rock band is playing for a full house at the school” my friends informed me.
I was really sorry to have missed it as I like to support the local activities as much as possible.
It was time to go home and so we would pass the high school which is also situated in our main street. Soon I could hear the music and an enthusiastic audience. Because of the dog I didn’t go inside but just peeped through the door and saw the band and everybody inside having the time of their life. They couldn’t have been more excited if the Rolling Stones or U2 were playing for them.
I was happy to at least have seen this much and thought, yeah Skiathos rocks!
Unfortunately there is no picture of the band since I never bring the camera when I should So just one of the dog instead.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A new season has arrived

As I mentioned some time ago in an older post, in Greek there are wishes for all kinds of new beginnings. Not only day, weeks, months of the year but also for the seasons. Only in this case we have wishes only for two seasons: kalo kalokairi and kalo xeimona for a good summer and a good winter. At least I have never heard the wishes "kalo fthinoporo" (fall) or "kali anixi" (spring).

Anyhow, summer is here. The tourist season has started and the first visitors have arrived.

Most of our visitors arrive by plane directly from their countries, some by ferry from the mainland and some by beautiful ships like this one.

Everything on the island is ready for yet another summer and my wish for everybody: in spite of all the turmoil that Greece has been going through and the severe sacrifices that are demanded of all of us, "Καλό Καλοκαίρι" -a good summer- and that many tourists come to enjoy the beauty and the unique athmosphere that Greece has to offer.

My winter is officially over now as well since I have started working full time as of yesterday. But I hope to find time for some crafting, gardening, surfing (the net, not the waves) and blogging as well.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Look what I made

Last week I prepared and sent a little parcel to a very dear friend in Holland. I wanted to show of some of the little projects I had been busy with this winter. Here they are to show them of to you too.

A little coin wallet crocheted with cut up plastic supermarket bags. I have been using one like this that I made about 2 years ago and I find it really practical and surprisingly strong as well.

A macrame necklace made with papermache beads.

A wire wrapped seaglass necklace

And a shoppingbag with picture and embroidery made from the pattern I wrote about in a former post.

I haven't heard from my friend yet but I really hope she is going to enjoy the things as much as I enjoyed making them for her.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A day in the garden

In my garden I have a couple of giant palm trees.

We planted these palm trees about 20 years ago. Actually it was just one tiny, little palm tree in a pot. As it started to grow, it turned out to be two palm trees stuck together. Funnily enough one grows faster than the other.

Once a year they need to be cut. And that is quite a job. Especcialy now that they are getting so big. Plus the spikes on the leaves are lethal! You really have to be careful because they can really hurt you.

Here are some of these dangerous spikes, I cut them of the long leaves, so that nobody gets hurt.

The taller palm has a lot of orange seeds. There are thousands of them hanging on some sort of branches. They are also very heavy. If I let them fall on the ground, they sprout and I get little palm trees all over the place. Every year I have to pull out hundreds of these sprouted seeds.

So I make sure to collect them. This year it was quite easy because the flowerbed under the palmtrees was already destroyed by the many south winds we had during the winter. The sea actually came crashing over the wall straight into the garden. One of the few disadvantages of living so near the sea.

Here you can see how many of these seeds there are.

It took me the whole day to get these trees sorted out. The garden was full of the leaves and seeds and just a lot of mess. But by the end of the day it started to look tidier. I 'll show pictures another time. I am glad the job is done for at least another year.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Memories and more

The first time I heard about "my" island was in 1978 when a colleague and friend of mine said: "if you ever have the chance to go to Skiathos, you must go". Most of my Greek holidays, though, started in Athens and from there to many different islands. And since Skiathos didn't have a direct connection by boat from Athens, it wasn't until early May 1983 that I finally arrived on this island by the very first direct flight from the Netherlands.

After about 1 hour I knew this was the place where I should live. I had never thought about leaving Holland and moving to another country but all of sudden I had this feeling that I never had before or anywhere else. I just knew this was where I belong.
It didn't take me too long to decide to leave the safety of my job, my home, my friends and family but it wasn't until exactly one year later, early May 1984, that the company I worked for gave me as my farewell present a one-way ticket to my Dream on the Wave.

And here we are, 26 years later, and I have lived the same amount of years in Greece as I have in the Netherlands. Which brings me to my thoughts of these last few days: am I more Greek or more Dutch? It is probably not possible to answer. My roots are in Holland, I still think of "home" when I mean the house in the little town where I grew up with my family, even though both my parents have passed away. I dare say I grew up with a "typical Dutch" phlegmatic and thrifty mentality, which has been very helpful throughout my life. I still count in Dutch, but dream and think in both languages as well as English, depending on the subject. I remember living in Holland as very well organized and very tidy.

But my heart is here, my life is the Greek life. And that includes all the irrational, passionate, loud, laid-back but not lazy, full of generousity, culinary, musical, theatrical, traditional, never on time but still always just made it, unorganized, dramatic and happy moments of Greek life.
As well as trying to cope with all the sacrifices and changes that lately have been expected and will be expected of us.

The first airplane with tourists of this summer arrived yesterday. As every year it was the plane from the Netherlands. Like the one I was in 26 years ago. I can still remember the excitement I had of starting my new, uncertain, life. Now we are also facing a new, uncertain era and I am trying to feel the same excitement. Of course this time it is totally different. Greece is having issues that the whole world is aware of. And of course I am aware of that as well but I choose to end this post with a beautiful picture instead of more gloom and doom.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A new top for the table

Here is what the table looks like at the moment. The top didn't need to be attached to the table since it is quite heavy so I can change it anytime.
(Iwarned you, Mariellen and is going to be quite simplistic)

I will make another top now with a more abstract design. I am a little limited with the colours but I want to try to make a more greek looking meander border. It might work.