Summer of 2017

1

The summer if 2017 has gone by fast. We came to Skiathos in early April, just in time for Greek Easter. And then, days passed by at an incredible speed.

1a
We did some travelling in the summer. Enough for jet lag to interfere with our days of sun, gardening, boating, socializing. And of course, sleeping, eating, drinking and lazying around in general.

2

3
It was a mixed summer for our gardening. Our new vegetable garden, with tomatoes, green peppers, cucumber, hot peppers did not do particularly well. We must improve the soil for next summer. Our new compost should produce good soil. But as usual, our herbs grew abundantly – oregano, rose marine, thyme, mint, basil, lemon grass and trees with bay leaves. Some of our fruit trees have done well – plenty of lemons in the early summer and a record crop of apples now in September. Our new fruit trees, pears, plums and nectarines have all given us small crops. As well as the fig trees growing into our garden from the land outside the wall. We also had plenty of grapes this year – not enough to make wine but enough to pick a few bunches of grapes in the morning to make fresh grape juice for our breakfasts.

4 (1)
It has been a record tourist year for the island. There is no Greek crisis on tourist islands in the country. People no longer travel to Turkey, Egypt or Tunisia – instead they come to Greece or Spain. We have had a fair share of family and friends visiting us – always enjoyable. All of them say that their visit has been too short and that they will stay longer next summer! Some of them even call this place Paradise…

6b
I consider September the best month of the year on the island. Cooler temperatures, not so many tourists any longer, the water in the sea still warm. I never get tired of walking bare foot into the grass in the early morning, carrying the first cup of morning coffee, watching the sun rise over Skopelos Island, the sun rays slowly moving over the sea giving us a new day of hope and pleasures…6c (2)
Yesterday, we went to the uninhabited island of Arkos, not far away from Skiathos, for a swim and lunch in the summer taverna on the beach. As we arrived to the beach, a fisherman was cleaning his catch of fish and calamares, selling it direct to the taverna for people like us to enjoy the fresh catch in the taverna a while later. You cannot get fresher sea food than this! As we had our lunch, with our feet on the sand under the table, a small group of dolphins passed the island.

7
But our summer is soon over. In a few weeks’ time, we will start our drive back to Sweden, staying a short while there before returning home to Malaysia for the winter. Well, in Malaysia there is no winter, summer surrounds us…

8
Another summer has passed by. We are one year older but we are richer with more memories, more ideas and more hope for the future. We are already looking forward to the summer of 2018….

Back on the island

Back 1
Early morning. Sunrise over Skopelos. The sea is calm. It is quiet. We are back on the island. Back after six weeks of travel. Back in our own little paradise.

The first cup of coffee in the morning tastes like heaven. I walk barefoot in the grass, inspecting the garden. It has fared reasonably well during our absence. We have been lucky. Roaming goats have passed the area. They have eaten a lot in our neighbour’s garden. All geraniums are gone there, down to the root. But our garden has been untouched by the goats. Thank you, goats.

Back 1a

Back 2

The rest of our car ride through Europe went smoothly. We stayed a few days in Prague. We stayed in the old, cute little village of Hall-in-Tirol outside Innsbruck in Austria. We drove down to Ancona in Italy where we caught the ferry to Igoumenitsa on the Greek mainland, just south of the Albanian border. After crossing Greece, we took the final ferry from Volos to Skiathos.

dav

dav

Back 7a

Back again. Travelling is enjoyable. Not travelling is also enjoyable. Now we will stay here for the next few months. Staying in our little paradise. Living a small scale life. Eating, drinking, sleeping. Gardening, swimming, reading, socializing with friends. Enjoying sunrises and coffee. Simply enjoying life. Enjoying the simple life.

Back 7b

Back 7c

It is great to be back again.

Sunrise over Skopelos, early morning on Skiathos

Sunrise 1
In just over a week’s time, we are going travelling again. We will miss the island.

The best things here are the early mornings. The first cup of coffee of the day. Sun rising over Skopelos. Walking barefoot into the grass in the garden, sipping coffee and looking out over the calm sea. Fishing boats slowly moving out to sea for a hard day’s work. The quietness. The solitude. A light western wind.

Garden 1

Our garden is doing well. The roses look great. We will get a lot of nectarines and plums this year. The oregano is coming along fine. Rosemary. Lemon grass. Mint. Thyme. Basil. All our herbs are seem to thrive.

Garden 2
When we came to our house this year, everything worked. The electricity, the water, the satellite TV, the internet, the telephone. First time in over twenty years. Usually, you have to spend the first week on the island chasing people to come to fix what has broken down during the winter. Not this time. But nothing lasts forever. Yesterday, there was a big bang and a fuse in the water heater was gone. Today we have to shower in cold water. It is bearable, reminds me of my days in the military service. Later today, I will call Akis. Akis is our electrician. Hopefully he can come tomorrow morning and fix the problem.
Last night, we had friends over for dinner. Three people from Holland, one Brit and a couple from Zimbabwe. Some live permanently on the island, others are sunbirds just like us, coming for the warm time of the year. We had Indian food. Dosei, bhajji, lamb kofta, chicken curry, chutneys. Wine and beer. A very enjoyable evening. First dinner with friends on the island this summer.

Garden 3
I am having my second cup of coffee. Two cups of coffee. My starter dose for the day. Then, the cold shower is waiting….

Cutting bamboos for the battle between man and nature

dav
When you leave the coast road into the small road leading up to our house, you first pass through a small bamboo forest. This fast growing grass, mostly growing in the tropics, has found a safe haven here to the joy of all of us who have gardens.

I am cutting bamboos. Long bamboo sticks. In our lower garden, we will for the first time try to grow a vegetable garden this year. Tomatoes, cucumber, capsicum, salad. We already have fruit trees. Apple. Lemon. Orange. Plum. Pear. Nectarine. Olive trees. Outside our garden wall, on an unbuilt piece of land, two fig trees grow, branching into our garden. The figs are enjoyed by us and the forest rats. On the fruit trees, the early signs of growing fruits have already come.

IMG_4227

Growing fruit trees and vegetables here means a constant battle between man and nature. Flies like to lay eggs in our olives on the olive trees. Wasps love the sweetness of our grapes on our vines. Pheasants and crows enjoy all the fruits on our fruit trees and probably also the vegetables in the new vegetable garden. Forest rats happily climb our apple tree and bite big holes in our apples. Now in early summer, the battle begins. Man versus nature.

I am using the bamboo sticks to build a construction over the small vegetable garden. I am positioning sticks around the fruit trees. The bamboos will be a good support for the nets. The netting will at least keep the birds out.

Bamboo garden 2

Later in the summer, we will let you know how successful we have been with our garden. Hopefully, the same success as with our roses. The farmer deep inside me is pleased for now. The day is over. It is time to move the short distance to Stathis Taverna for dinner. Pepper chicken with rice and vegetables. And some red house wine.

Another day has gone by in our little paradise….

IMG_4233