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.