Friday, December 30, 2011

Leaving 2011

Like getting up from a festive dinner party table, which started with a clean cloth, shiny glasses and promising tasty dishes and now is covered with crumbs, winestains and empty dessertbowls, I am ging to leave the year 2011 behind.  But both my wine and water glasses are half full.

It is time to set the table again and start with a clean cloth. Instead of one dinnerparty I will look upon 2012 as a buffet where I get to choose any dish I like

I shall let 2012 arrive with open arms and a big welcome and I invite you to join me at this buffet and choose your favorite dishes and make it a year how you want it to be.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Wishing you all

From the bottom of my heart:

Friday, December 23, 2011

Baking and good company

The weather has changed dramatically over the last two days. Heavy storms and non stop torrential rain. Fortunately we were warned by the weather forecast and told our two boys to come home a day earlier than planned. Just as well because they would have been stuck on the mainland since no ships are allowed out of the harbour today and most likely also not tomorrow.

But my boys made it and I am happy to have them home.

Today my youngest and I made the traditional Greek Christmas biscuits "Kourabiedes". The official shape would be like a half moon but we made hearts and stars and round ones with a dent so the icing sugar can sit nicely in tthe dent. They turned out exactly how they should be. Crumbly and sweeeet and oh so Christmassy.

Happy days!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas bazaar

Last sunday was our annual Christmas bazaar. As every year we organized the childrens' playroom and as every year it was a great success. The kids (about 330 of them!) had a good time playing the various games we had prepared.

Here we are, just before the children stormed in.

Always popoular with girls and boys: face painting. This year there were a lot of butterflies, princesses, flowers for the girls and of course spiderman, ghosts and pirates for the boys.

And of course the Green Fox was present as well. The sale of our 100% handmade shopping bags went well and made us some much needed cash.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Contrasts and cookies

This morning, when I looked out of my hobby room the sky was blue and the sun was shining.

The very same moment though, the room from the opposite window in my hobby room gave a totally different picture. It was raining heavily and there were dark clouds.

This afternoon the same again: this is the view from the garden looking to the left:

And looking to the right:

Both sides are beautiful, don't you agree. ?

I just finished making the ultimate, traditional dutch winter cookies, speculaas. At least for me it is a typical winter cookie. Since a few years you can buy them ready made here as well. Only it is called speculoos. I never really found out why that is.
The home made ones are the best, the whole house smells of the spices used for this cookie.

This is the special form I use for getting the shape. It is quite old, since I have brought it from Holland about 26 years ago, but it still works.

Here they are ready to go into the oven and

Now I just have to wait for them to cool down and mmmm, I wish you could smell and taste them as well.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

How to come back

After such a long absence. It is not easy. So much happens in 6 months time. I guess I'll just skip the update alltogether and just continue as if nothing has happened. (Just a note to myself for next summer....don't ever plan again to continue the blog in the summer, because that is not going to happen.) I more or less lead two lives. One in the summertime with a lot of work and not much time for anything else and one in the wintertime with a lot of free time to spare.
And the wintertime is the time to share anything of my life. I feel already a lot better now that I have settled that.
It's coming on Christmas and I have seen a lot of blog-friends with their trees up. Our tree is up as well and there is nothing trendy or modern about our masterpiece in the living-room!
It is full of ornaments that we have collected over the years. Many are home made, some
are totally awful -objectively seen- but still beautiful because my children chose them. I love our tree and I am sure my two boys will love it too when they come home for Christmas. Another 9 days and they'll be here. I can't wait.

It still is strange to me to prepare for Christmas while the weather reminds me of a Dutch summer. Well maybe not summer but early autumn then.

Having said that....20 years ago, when I was 7 months pregnant with my eldest son, we were snowed in for 1 week with no electricity and no water and this started on the 7th of December! It was fun for a bit but after a couple of days it was getting a little difficult. I spent my hours in daylight knitting little sweaters for the baby. The evenings with candle light and a blazing fire. It sounds more romantic than it was. Luckily one remembers the nice parts, and not the smelly bits!

Aaah, it's good to be back!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A cloudy summer

Metaphorically speaking.

Our little island is slowly filling up with holiday makers from all over the world. Most of them looking for a well deserved rest and some sunshine to relax in and of course some good food which we are doing our best for to serve. Many, if not most, of our customers come back year after year and every day we can greet some old friends back.
As every summer, I am so concentrated on work that there is little time for anything else, except of work, my daily swim and of course the bottles . Not watching any news or reading any news papers. But this summer especcially it is impossible not to be confronted with what is going on in this beautiful country.

I have been thinking about it very much and have just now decided not to give in to this all depressing atmosphere and stay as positive as possible.
Therefore I changed the old header picture, that reminded me of the heavy clouds hanging over us for a brighter one with lots of sunshine.
Because that is what we have to look at.
All is going to be well and I sincerely believe that.

First two pictures taken with my new mobile. One is outside my mother in law's house and the second is of the garden (totally off topic but who cares...)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A scary experience

I have written before about the Green Fox project and although I had promised not to write on this blog about it anymore, I just have to because it has become such a major thing in my life. The project is going extremely well and we are collecting bottles galore.
The last few days we have had a lot of publicity. Newspapers and blogs have been writing about us, which is good because the Green Fox gets more known.
And then today a TV channel came and filmed and interviewed us. And this was the scary experience. I was dreading it anyway but when the camera zoomed in on me and the interviewer asked me an question....I just blocked and stumbled and turned red and that was for sure the beginning and the end of a tv career for me. They will have to cut out my contribution , at least I hope they will. But as long as the message comes across, it's ok with me.

And the lady with the camera didn't look scary at all....until she turned her camera on me!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

First full moon this summer

Every year in May I am looking forward to the full moon. It is such a spectacular view from where I live and work.
There is this saying that a picture is worth more than a thousand words. In this case you will have to draw the picture in your mind because my little camera would do no justice to this truly amazing sight.
Overlooking the dark blue sea, in the distance are two tiny islands and from behind the left island rises a gigantic orange ball. It is bigger than the small island. It rises so fast that you can almost see it move. In a few minutes it will reach its highest point and slowly change in colour from orange to yellow and throw a beam of light over the sea. It is breathtaking.
There are not so many guests dining at the taverna at the moment, it is only the beginning of the season, but I know for sure every one of them feels blessed to be able to admire it.
And that is how I feel too.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Have a good summer or Καλό καλοκαίρι!

When it comes to season's greetings, in Greece there are more than just Christmas and Easter wishes. I wrote about it before. We can add another one since this is the time of year where everybody wishes: "have a good summer". And that is not only for businesses that are dependant on the tourist season like my work. And around October it will be: "Have a good winter". Somehow spring and autumn are not in the picture for this kind of wishes.

I am still not quite sure if I am superstitious or not. But Friday the 13th has a certain sound to it, that to most people - myself included- reminds of disaster, doom and mishap.

Nevertheless it didn't stop us from opening our taverna for the summer season 2011. This means from now on until October: work full time and a view from my desk that is as follows:

Oh no I am not complaining.....
Instead wishing everybody a good summer...Καλό καλοκαίρι.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

It has arrived!

Etsy is wonderful, especially for impulsive shoppers like me. Just as well that I don't have so much time these days for clicking around on Etsy because it would get dangerously expensive...not good at the end of a long winter with no income.

The Wayfarer purse, made by Pesky Cat designs

But this really was love at first sight. And I just had to have this beautiful bag. It arrived yesterday in the post already and I keep picking it up and admiring it. Well. actually I hugged it and tonight it is coming out with me. I can't wait.

Monday, May 2, 2011

My royal contribution

It has nothing to do with the royal wedding of last week but it has a little bit to do with Netherland's national holiday, or Queen's day as it is called.
It is a love declaration someone made on a beach in Halkidiki, Greece.

I haven't been in Holland on Queen's day for at least 27 years and now I am reading on my favorite blogs about how it was celebrated, I have to say I wish I was there.....

Picture taken by Ariadne

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

So much happening

These last few weeks that there is no time for blogging which is a pity because there is a lot to tell.
I'll have to keep it short and therefore just show a few pictures of the past days.

View from the bedroomwindow, the morning of Easter sunday

Roast goat, kokoretsi, salads and more food but most importantly: good company

Saint George's day is officially on the 23rd of April but if Easter is after that date, it is celebrated on the monday after Easter. And that was yesterday. On that day there is also the traditional horse race. There are two categories. The first category is the race with horses and the second category is the race with mules and donkeys using the traditional wooden saddle.

This is Yorgos (George) and the mule he rode with the wooden saddle. He has all reasons to be happy: It is his nameday and he made the 3rd place in the race which is not bad at all.
Congratulations Yorgo!

And here comes the over-all winner of the day.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Theatre, museum, shopping therapy

All in great company. But also cinema, long walks, market, good food, stocking up on silver wire for wire wrapping, relaxing and last but not least: spending time with my son. That sums up my week in Thessaloniki. A week that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Last night fisher-man and I went on a little stroll along the old harbour before going out for dinner. It was a beautiful mild evening. It will not be long and the view of the harbour will be quite different.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A great birthday present

Today is my birthday. That is of course a special day but what made it more special is that the press arrived for our bottle recycling project, aka "the green fox". Here is where you can read all about it.
Of course the press was higher than the entrance of our premises so a few heads were scratched. But in the end...the press found its place.
Here a few pictures quickly, a more detailed post later because now I am of for a well needed shower and afterwards a nice dinner with my husband.

It is not so very big but high and heavy.

The press in its place and we celebrate with a glass (plastic cup) of wine.

I am in such a hurry that I haven't even mentioned the lovely week I spent in Thessaloniki. My friend Ariadne wrote about it and here is her version will come soon.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Why not?

This was the theme for the 2nd TEDx Thessaloniki event held yesterday.
I found out about TED quite a few years ago and have been a great fan ever since. And whenever I watched one of the many video's available on internet, I wished I could be in the audience following such inspired talks live. I never imagined it would happen one day!
Not so long ago, the TEDx events started, independantly organized events taking place around the world based on the TED "ideas worth spreading" idea. I still didn't think it would happen anywhere near where I live.
Than the first event took place in Thessaloniki last year. 4 speakers on a day in May. Unfortunately totally impossible for me to visit since this would mean at least three days away from my island. I work full time from May to October, without a day of.

And then this year... the event was planned for April 2nd. Work hasn't started yet and my son is now studying in Thessaloniki.
Timing couldn't be more perfect.
And so yesterday I had the day of my life. And I wasn't the only one. For 7 hours the whole audience in the beautiful theatre Olympion was captivated, fascinated and inspired by 13 speakers and two performances. The room was filled with positive energy that you could actually feel.
I dare to say it was a life-changing experience that I am grateful for.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

An evening in Thessaloniki

Even though it had been raining heavily all night and in the morning, the hydrofoil to the mainland took of on time yesterday morning so eventually I arrived safe and sound in Thessaloniki where it hadn't rained at all.

I suppose most of us remember what our rooms or flats where like when we first left home to study or work...well that is more or less what I faced when I arrived at my eldest son's appartment. So after a late lunch in a little taverna together, a bit of washing and cleaning was waiting to be done.

In the evening I met up with Ariadne whom I met through internet last year because we share a mutual hobby: seaglass. But in general we have a lot in common and the latest: it turns out she lives only about 100 metres away from where my eldest lives -in this big city!. Ariadne and her collegue teachers where in a club or bouat as we used to call them her. It was called Vardia and the son of one of her friends was playing. Great music, wonderful voices and good company in a friendly atmosphere. That sums it up for me and what more could one possibly want?

Thanks, Ariadne, for a wonderful evening.

And now I am getting ready for TEDx Thessaloniki. Yeah!

Thursday, March 31, 2011


This morning we woke up with rain and storms as if it were the beginning of autumn instead of the beginning of spring. So our clean up day is postponed to next week.
Now I only hope the wind doesn't get any stronger because tomorrow morning I want to take the hydrofoil to the mainland. I am going to spend a few days with my son in Thessaloniki and on saturday he and I will be attending the TEDx event in Thessaloniki. I am very much looking forward to that.
My youngest son is also hoping for quiet weather because he is leaving the island on saturday by ferry boat. He is going on the traditional 5 day excursion with his school. They will be going to Barcelona.
That is one of the disadvantages of living on an island. Your plans sometimes have to change dramatically due to weathercircumstances.
I just had a look at the weather forecast and I wish I hadn' doesn't look promising.
Ah well, wish me luck.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spring cleaning

This week is the annual "Skiathos clean up" week. An initiative started by the cultural society "Skiathos". This will be the sixth year that volunteers clean up beaches and other parts of the island. Tomorrow is our turn, the international women's club is taking on the area of Kalivia. If the weather is as lovely as it was today, it will be a nice outing as well.

Today I went for my usual stroll along the beach in search of some seaglass.

It won't be long before this beach will look very differently

The assignment from the Seaglassartist community was to take a photo of the seaglass as found on the beach.

I almost missed this piece of white glass in the froth. I managed to pick it up without getting my feet wet. And I am glad I did because it is a lovely piece.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Independance Day

Today is Independance Day, a major celebration where Greece commemorates the war of independance and celebrates freedom after 400 years of Turkish regime.
In the morning there was the traditional school parade. My youngest son took part for the last time, since he is in his last year of school. He was very proud to carry the original sword that was used by Markos Botsaris, one of the heroes of the independance war of 1821. I took a very nice picture of him, the sword and the great great great granddaughter of Markos Botsaris, but will not be able to show it here because then revolution will start in my own house.

It wouldn't be a special day if it didn't have a special dish and for Independance Day that dish is salted cod and garlic sauce or "skordalia". Don't ask me why. I have no idea where it came from but we did enjoy it today together with the nice spring sunshine