Let the fat lady sing🎤

The toss of a coin, the availability of a villa or the time and place of a flight; any of these things could have made us plump for another holiday in the Mani in Greece, instead of Paxos. We love the Peloponnese and have visited a little place called Agios Nicholas many times, which is where you fly to Kalamata to achieve your final destination. Paxos does send you easily into reflective mood, if you allow it, and a major flood like they have just experienced on the mainland (they want it declared a disaster area) simply triggers your subconscious into thinking deeply about your own morbidity. We are all so continuously  close to saying goodbye to this planet before our allotted time but who says how long that allotted time should be? I’m not saying if we had gone there we would have been killed but we would have had a much more wretched few days by all accounts. But as we wandered through the streets of Gaois last night, we discovered that whatever has happened in the world, life simply goes on. Music played, waiters and waitresses carried on serving and people laughed, drank and ate.

I bought a wonderful book called, “The Bleasdale WALKING MAP of PAXOS & Guide.” in the holiday reps office last night. The lady in there knew nothing of the Kalamata disaster, which just shows even in these instant news and shrinking planet times, if you don’t watch the right news channel an awful lot can pass you by. The map is superb and even has the villa we are staying in marked on it and the small sunset bar, where we paused for a drink on the west coast the other day. If it’s off the beaten track panic not it will be on this map. Now we have it in our possession only one day before we fly home; will we come back to explore more undiscovered areas? You bet your last drop of Ouzo we will.

Clutching my copy of Bleasdale, I could become the Michael Portillo of Paxos and film small documentaries on the sights and sounds I came across whilst walking the paths. I was going to say Julia Bradbury but I haven’t quite got the rear view for that!

Back to Lakka; if you want to dry your octopus leave it in the sunshine and the menu board outside young Theo’s, Adrianna being his sister and daughter of Yani. When they were both young and we were sat in Theo’s bar, partaking of Ouzo and Metaxa, at bed time the cry would go up, “ADRIANNA!” for they could never find her. Shame we never got to eat there; another reason to return soon! And we did discover from young Yunion, she has had a baby girl since the last time we visited, when she was pregnant. So we have seen (or will upon our return I hope) four generations of the Apheregliss family grow up.

The light last night in Gaios was beautiful and the waters were still. I have two more question for my sailing chums: if you are moored stern in to the quay, by the shops, tavernas and bars playing their happy but loud music; what time do you hope to get to sleep? And question two is: if your boat is due back on Wednesday and the storm hits Tuesday night and it’s impossible to sail the following day, in that you just daren’t put to sea, what happens? What happens to your return flight home and your booking costs? Just a thought.

Don’t worry the cat’s a long way away from the lizard! We ate in the square in Gaios and all the flower pots for a second night running stayed put.

The day was sunny and bright (Saturday) and we explored a little to the west of Gaios with our newly purchased map, which even names the churches as you pass them. It would be just so churlish never to come back and not ever use it again. Down a winding road and where did we emerge but opposite the Paxos club hotel where last Monday George the rep had given his little talk. What goes around comes around. Off to Loggos for lunch and we sat in the same restaurant Mary had the chat about years gone by and the late owner to his daughter.

Really narrow road and difficult to get the very smart local bus through here along the quayside but somehow they manage. In the newly acquired Bleasdales is a lovely bit about the bus service, “There is a ‘no smoking’ sign in the bus but is so positioned that the driver cannot see it. He smokes the whole time! At busy periods you may find yourself sharing a seat with a small child you have never met before and we have known two people share the driver’s seat!”  Another example of Classical Greek.

We then went off and found Kipos beach, which was almost deserted; yippee. Just shows what happens when you build a bar and swimming pool at these ‘deserted’ places. Back to the villa one last dip in the pool for Malcolm and one last read in the sun for Mary.

Safe to take pictures here, no topless bathers! We ate our last meal at the flowerpot taverna. The red mullet was delicious and the waitress bad us ‘Kalo Himonas.’which means good winter. So that’s it till the next time, loads of pictures I never got to post but they’ll be in the book.

Sorry it’s one day behind again but the wi-fi just wasn’t playing ball last night.

Thank you for reading and we hope it has been mildly interesting.

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Mary & Malcolm 🇬🇷🇬🇷✈️🌞

 

 

 

Two more sleeps.

There is a small safe in the wardrobe in the bedroom, that is just Classical Greek. I don’t mean it’s covered in ancient script but the small note above it says,”To operate safe press 436e” You try that and nothing happens, you try again and still no luck. Your eye is drawn to the small writing at the bottom of the paper that says,” Please do not remove.” And then you catch “P.T.O.” And on the reverse it says,”The code doesn’t work by the way. Use the long key on the key ring.” That is what I mean by Classical Greek.

Beautiful flowers and small stick insect or baby praying mantis? Pass.

Last night we didn’t end up in Gaios, instead we went to the middle of the island to Magazia, to a cute little taverna that sits on the hill before you drop down to Loggos one way or Lakka the other. Because of the rain the tables they normally have outside were not there so space was at a premium. I didn’t realise by how much until the waitress greeted us with words I never thought I would hear uttered in a Greek Taverna,”Kalispera. Have you booked?” Well no we hadn’t but they managed to squeeze us in. Other couples arriving after us were not so lucky and incredibly got turned away.

The predicted storm continuation never happened and in the morning the sun came up and stayed up.

We lazed by the pool and then headed towards Lakka for lunch. The sun shone brightly on the village compared to our last visit. We sat in the amazing restaurant that now occupies the once deserted beach; sorry I am going back a bit here again.

I loved the Ferrari sign on the side of this……well I don’t know quite what to call it. They were once just about the only means of transport, apart from the ancient bus, motorbikes or donkeys. The steps reminded me so much of the classic Laurel & Hardy film where they try to get an upright piano up the steps but continually fail. Never seen it? You haven’t lived.

The sea was still the amazing colour that it always has been but everyone was a bit cheek to jowl for my liking. Mary did manage a paddle in the very warm waters.

We met up with Yunion’s son preparing for dinner tonight. We explained the years past and what we thought of his fathers brilliant stuffed tomatoes. He was born in 1976; he said he would pass our regards on to his father and kept saying, rather emotionally,”I don’t know what to say.” It was a lovely moment but we never got his name! Twits.

Heading for the villa we deviated to another beach and this had changed beyond recognition. A huge taverna, a swimming pool and rows of again cheek to jowl folk occupied the sun loungers. I suddenly felt like a time traveller until Mary reminded me that we had said one day someone will change this and bung a taverna here. “Beam me up Scotty, back to 1978!”.

Most folk were in the water but gee it was crowded the other way but a lot of folk were topless and I didn’t  want to get my face smacked, now did I? Back to the villa and Malcolm had a swim and then Pennie sent us a link alerting us to the dreadful happenings in Kalamata. Why do I think the BBC would not have featured this story but I bet you know what Trump said yesterday. Three people dead, flash floods the whole place turned upside down and mud everywhere. Google “Kalamata floods” and see for yourself. By comparison we got off very, very lightly.  So that’s the end of any moaning about the rain from us, compared to those poor folk we just had a shower. We have flown into Kalamta airport many times on our way to Aghios Nikolas and we really feel for those poor people over there. Life ain’t so bad on Paxos and our last day looks like it will be just fine.

Thank you you for reading M & M 🇬🇷🇬🇷

We got away with it once……..

But alas not twice. The lightening started around two o’clock, tailed off but started again in earnest at about four thirty. And the heavens opened and then some. Those bright flashes illuminate briefly the whole of the sea and the Cypress tree shadows dance wildly on the bedroom curtains. Then crash as the thunder hits the air waves and the splintering sound erupts and echoes across the water. So this is Thursday and it just hasn’t got off to a good start. The rain eased after breakfast and we ventured off towards Mongonisi island which can be approached across a narrow strip of land and is famous for its sandy beach. The beach was there alright but emptier than I have ever seen it; in fact there was no one on it all.

The sun loungers remained piled up and the wind blew. We sat and had a beer and a coffee in the very smart taverna, which back in the day was a pretty ramshackle excuse for an eatery.

The taverna the same as the beach and not heavily patronised but a lovely catamaran in the harbour, just to prove I do know what one looks like……..see later.

There are an awful lot of olive trees on Paxos, indeed at one time there were over 150 olive presses working here. When the wind blows a gale as it has done today, the whole of the island groans and moans; sounding as though Poseidon himself has returned to shatter the island even further than he did in the first place, allegedly making it with his trident, when he separated it from the southern tip of Corfu. If ever you visit here you will notice that the trident is now the symbol of the island. Mythology or truth?

It began to rain again so we headed back to the villa for lunch, passing this strange beast anchored off shore on the way. If any of our nautical chums have a clue what it is, we sure would love to know. At first we thought it was a catamaran but we have decided that the pointy bit at the front (the bow) was just one piece and not divided into two.

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If that’s the front door at the front of the vessel, you would need a pair of wellies to come visiting.

So lunch and at about three the sun came out and a scramble to sit outside by the pool. Oh dear, so short lived at five the heavens opened again and more rain danced on the patio.

All the floors in the villa look like they are wood, including the shower. I wonder where the idea of the pattern came from? Oh, that tree looks as though it may know something.

The said shower and a now slightly faded slogan from the side of the supermarket in Lakka, that in 1978 looked pristine. OK, all for now as we are off to Gaios, to eat. At least today’s blog is today and tomorrow I will let you know of any more flying flowerpots during dinner.

Thank you for reading M & M 🇬🇷🙏🏼💦☔️⚡️

Wednesday and sunshine?

The forecast was horrendous, storms by 0600 and ghastly all day. It just didn’t happen; the sun came up and stayed up. We drove over to the west coast and found a lovely little taverna for a beer for Mary and a Diet Coke for me. I know, I know……even I find it hard to believe. We headed for Loggos again and had lunch at a fish restaurant that has been there since the year dot. Well at least since 1978!  Delicious huge sea bream shared between the two of us.

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The West coast above is spectacular.

Mary fell into conversation with a lady who turned out to be the daughter of the owner of the restaurant, who is sadly no longer with us. When Mary said our first visit was in 1978, the lovely lady nearly fell off her seat. We then walked to a beach we knew well; it was here Zach had his first Greek swim, when we all went on holiday together; Laura, Laurent, Zach, Hannah, Dean and myself and Mary. Mary and I sat for a while but she was a little wistful watching everyone else in the water except herself, so we headed back to the villa.

Loggos and Loggos beach.

We got back to the villa and I had a small swim in the pool, just for the record I also had one on Monday afternoon; then we headed for Gaios. Back to the same taverna as Monday night, well the food had been good, the music sutuably Greek and the waitress not unattractive. The food was again delicious, chicken, Greek salad and Mary once again plumped for the courgette balls. And then, of course, there are the cats. Always be careful pulling out the chair as you sit at your table, for there may well be a dozing moggy on board.

And of course they surround your table as you eat and look so, so, so appealing you just have to feed them, don’t you?

But then, mid Greek salad, the most bizarre thing happened. Two old Greek ladies dressed as they do, mostly in black, were happily sat by the taverna entrance chewing over the events of the day. The entrance had large windows either side with window ledges that contained pretty potted plants of varying varieties. Mary watched in amazement as one of the pots dropped happily off the ledge and straight onto one of the poor old dears head, and then spilling its contents of black soil and plant, proceeded onwards to the floor. Benny Hill would have been proud of such a comedy moment but this was actually happening. It was funny but serious at the same time; one of those very confusing moments in life. Luckily she didn’t fall to the floor in an unconscious state but stoically remained upright and seated, while the waitress dabbed the top of her head where the wretched pot had obviously inflicted some sort of luckily not too serious flesh wound. Like all those type of Greek ladies she was of completely indeterminate age and to recover her equilibrium, she lit up a cigarette and inhaled both with relief and delight. No smoking in restaurants, what the EU regulation, oh that old chestnut. Ah, I think I have mentioned before and especially in Lefkada last year; that little gem does seem to have passed the Greek islands by. And once more, what I have said before is, I don’t mind a dear Greek old lady doing it after a nasty incident like that but what I really object to is English folk,  going somewhere abroad to inflict this habbit on others knowing full well they are no longer allowed to practise this affliction at home. Rant over, till next time.

I recognise the oil, the dressing and the hidden salt cellar, but what is that funny looking round thing on the table? The Metaxa came in handy and it is standing by for tomorrow because the forecast is once more absolutely dire. The storm is due to hit at either two in the morning or six, depending on which forecast you have read. Perhaps tomorrow’s blog will be just nice sunny pictures from past days (Monday & Wednesday) or as we got away with a wrong forecast today (Wednesday) let’s hope the guys with the pine cones get it all wrong again tomorrow.

Thanks for reading M & M 🇬🇷🍹🍷🍉👍

 

 

 

 

A few words and pictures about Tuesday.

So it’s Tuesday, so it more or less rained all day. So the thunder and lightening packed in around midday. We finally left the villa at four and went to Lakka and then back to Loggos, which was pretty flooded on the main road. Lakka main square was very deserted and we shall have to return if we want to bump into young Theo and Yunion; who spells his name completely differently. But Diogenis, still above the door of Theo’s place.

The full story of Laura, Lakka baby or not, is that we went there and stayed in Lakka in September 1978 and returned the following May. We just had to get back as soon as possible to the island we had both fallen in love with. Mary by this time was pregnant with Laura but what Theo didn’t know was that is was only by three months but he decided there and then Laura had been conceived on Paxos. In those days we watched the women come with their cans and buckets to the water pump in the square and fill them up between two and four in the afternoon I  believe the time was, it was then turned off till the following day. Times thankfully have moved on since then and the olive press just outside where we stayed is now a supermarket. The noise of the men rolling the oil drums around used to wake us early in the morning and we noticed those appartments (well single rooms actually) now have air conditioning; what luxury.

Above is the harbour road in Loggos on Monday and from the other angle (we couldn’t get through) on Tuesday.

We travelled straight to Gaios, after failing to get to the bar in Loggos. Ate in the square for €34 but that included coffee and an ice cream (😱) and trundled home to the Metaxa and Ouzo.

Sweet dreams, the forecast for Wednesday is naff. ⚡️⚡️☔️☔️

Thanks for reading M & M 😜🍷🍉🍺🇬🇷🇬🇷💐

Sorry it’s one day behind! 🤔🤔

 

 

There maybe trouble ahead……….

We had looked at the weather forecast for vaguely the Mediterranean area before we left, as you do,  and it looked like bright red on the map and Britain in for a fab week with warm winds a blowin’up from the south.

We touched down at Prevesa airport in 33c of sunshine, that heat so very familiar to us belting back off the tarmac. Sunday you have read about and yesterday dawned bright and clear and beautifully warm. We had been summoned for the usual holiday ‘rep’ meeting at 11-00a.m. at the Paxos Club hotel; we had passed the establishment many times before but never had the pleasure of venturing in.

That picture I promised, the same as the brochure plus the view.

We were offered a drink and in the old days, many years ago, it would have been at the very least a beer or maybe a particularly early ‘ish Ouzo; I opted for a black coffee and Mary an orange juice. My how times have changed. George, for it was he, welcomed us and began to tell us tales of Paxos and places of interest we might like to visit during our stay. I think I mentioned that this must be at least our tenth visit to this Septered Isle, so there was nothing he told us that we didn’t know but he did it with humour and warmth. Oh yes, tell a lie; we never knew that a millipede could give you a well nasty nip on your posterior should your buttocks be lying in the sun pointing in its direction.

There were a couple sat with the group who the rep knew well and this was obviously their third or fourth visit back here and George if he asked a question kept saying, ‘not you Geoff’ because Geoff had obviously heard the talk before and would know the answer. He got on to maid service and when the sheets and towels would be changed and the name Elena came up and that she had been replaced by someone else so he wasn’t sure if it would happen on Wednesday or Thursday. The couple recognising the name looked disappointed that their relationship with Elena would not be renewed, “Oh, no Elena?” they queried. “No,” replied George, “She dropped down dead.” He wasn’t joking and Geoff’s wife looked very upset. Tell it like it is George and move on.

We drove off to Loggos to renew our aqaintance with the beautiful port, where we have stayed from time to time and visited often. A small beer each was just €6 to sit and watch the world go by in this little haven of tranquility and a place our chum Richard Monk is very familiar with. He has returned to the island  some nineteen times, since we introduced him to it many years ago. Well, nineteen years ago probably or thereabouts.

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If you have a house for sale, why not cover the front in a nice painting of a decent house? Top right look carefully, there is a big gap to the sky.

So to the villa, a lazy afternoon by the pool. No Mary couldn’t go in.😟 And down to Gaios for dinner. Another back street restaurant €25.70 this time for the feast. Oh yes and a dog called Rambo, inhabited the premises ! Seriously, look at him; Rambo?

You may think this is quite a long blog. Time on my hands? I’ll say I damn well have. I looked at the forecast last night: the big red blob in the Mediterranean had disappeared; the local forecast said there was a storm due to hit about 2a.m. We had both thought the sky down at the harbour in Gaois looked somewhat foreboding.

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As it turned out we were right. The storm hit a little later than forecast at about 2-45 in the morning. The power went off at about 3a.m. And I guess because the Greeks joined the EU a big emergency light came on in the living room that lit the whole place up. I can remember in years gone by hunting for the candles. So that was it the heavens opened, the rain came down, the lightening illuminated the sea and we both groaned. By seven o’clock the power came back on but looking out if the window in order to ascertain the time of day, was pointless. As I scribe this at midday (Tuesday) the sun has never come up, the white caps on the waves have got bigger and the wind is blowing fit to bust.

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it might as well rain until September. Curses IT IS!

Somehow I think today may be even more sedentary than yesterday.

Thanks for reading M & M  ☔️🇬🇷💦🇬🇷⚡️⚡️