Sunday, 26 June 2016

Blessing at Babis

Big Jim stood 6'5'' in his socks and Ann just came up to his chest. A great character and lover of all things Kos. As an ex RSM in the British army he had many tales to tell and loved sitting and passing the time with Babis.


Some years ago now when Babis opened his gift shop he had a bit of a do and Father Michael came to bless the occasion. The problem for Jim however was that Father Michael only reached up to his navel ( a slight exageration) and as Jim was stood in line to be blessed the only way Father Michael could reach Jim's head with the bunch of basil was to slap him round the face. Jim said it felt like being slapped with a wet lettuce. He loved it really. Nothing so special as feeling part of the community.



Thursday, 23 June 2016

Service with a smile.......

It’s been talked about for weeks over a few bottles of Mythos during the winter. Designs have been drawn, area measured, adjustments made and wood ordered from Antimachia’s wood yard. A space has been cleared and the wait begins for the seasoned wood to arrive. Many more beers are consumed over the tense wait for materials.

At last they arrive, but not enough, some still remains somewhere on a small Greek Island. Avrio, maybe ? May as well start though. With sawing and chiselling the surprise feature begins to take shape. The heat of the day has to be factored in and chance of rain although slim might impede the process but despite delays from Antimachia , the project is still on schedule.

Precision finished ,beautifully crafted and hand painted, so only one small detail remains for perfection to be achieved and it to be fit for purpose. So fabrics are chosen, cut and sewn and the great plan comes together.

So just imagine how it must feel to walk round to the local Butcher and find not only can you spend time choosing the cut of meat you want and pass the time of day pleasantly chatting, but that you can sit down on a carefully thought out cushioned bench. The elderly ladies of Kefalos are treated with respect and kindness and anyone who can’t make it to the shop gets a home delivery. If they are really lucky they might just get to appreciate some flowers in there as well. It’s the only place in Greece that I’ve come across fresh Freesias from the family garden.


"Excuse me, what have you done with the Ladies?"

Monday, 20 June 2016

“Do they have gardens, Sallyann?” asked my mother.

“Do they have gardens, Sallyann?” asked my mother.

There may not be manicured lawns and neat herbaceous borders but as I wander round Kefalos in and out of the higgledy arrangement of houses I’ll come across Bougainvillea festooned balconies, hanging baskets of geraniums. Morning Glory tumbling out through rock crevices, clinging to old stone walls. Stair wells of brightly coloured flowers growing out of ceramic and terracotta pots or indeed anything available such as old cans, plastic pots. Grape vines intertwine and small citrus fruit trees nudge up against washing lines and old porches. Hints of Jasmine and Honeysuckle waft in the air as you pass by someone’s small private world of plants. The houses in the Village centre are so close together that it’s a joy to see these hints and accents of colour bursting out at you.

Further out from the centre you’ll see allotment type plots, of fruit and vegetables. Tomatoes growing low to the ground, on earth you can’t imagine would ever sustain growth back in the UK. This is where you’ll see neat lines of aubergines, courgettes, cucumber , melons, leeks, onions and all manner of other things because in between the rows they have cleverly woven a network of irrigation channels ,hoses set for optimum water supply when it’s needed. Walk along the back roads in Kamari Bay back from the main tourist track and these gardens fill the spaces in between Hotels and Apartments. Chickens scrabble around scraping at the ground for food. I just love seeing everyday life going on as the tourists wander round and about.



Friday, 17 June 2016

Agios Theologos .Sunrise, sunset mmmmm

Agios Theologos twists and turns out of Kefalos to the furthest point North West, although famous for Sunsets is equally spectacular in the daytime with its tiny bays, rugged headline and choppy waters. Patchwork terraces of small fields mapped out by stone walls litter the landscape. Wild terrain of volcanic origin, covered in wild thyme and oregano spreads as far as the eye can see until it too becomes edged by azure sea and red rocky outcrops.
Goats amble across the road and geckos bask in the sun on vertical rocky surfaces. Bee hives merge into the landscape and bide their time until the August harvest and the honey festival.
Little blue and white churches built in the apparent middle of nowhere stand testament to Greek Orthodox beliefs and family values. I can’t help but notice these things as I make my way to the only Taverna at the end of the road. I chose sea bass today simply grilled with village salad and potatoes roasted in olive oil, lemon juice and rosemary finished off with the most delicious Ravani and ice cream. mmm mmmm heaven. And as I sit there paying homage to all things Greek as if from nowhere a Priest arrives to share in homage to sea bass today simply grilled with village salad and potatoes roasted in olive oil, lemon juice and rosemary finished off with the most delicious Ravani and ice cream.
Mmmm mmmm heaven.

 By Sallyann Phillips

ντολμάδες or ντομάτες



How often do I really say “Good morning, how are you? Remembering whether it’s to someone I know or the polite version. I’m more likely to say “Okay?, Alright?, Cheers, Fine?” So is it any wonder some of the Greek answers in return don’t match up to the BBC’s guide to Greek language and people. So when you’ve prepared yourself to say Tι κάvεις; or tikanete; and you get και εσύ;Καλά; καλώς; εντάξει;  it just doesn’t prepare you for everyday speech.
And it’s not until you’ve advanced onto conjugations and future tense that the penny drops. It’s fascinating once you get the hang of it. Have you also noticed that what you say and hear in Kefalos isn’t the same in Kos town? Don’t let it stop you it’s a bit like the difference between Somerset and Newcastle same language, different dialects and a few variations.

Things can get a bit more difficult though when you’ve left your hearing aid at home and manage to mispronounce words and hear the wrong thing in return to find what you thought was ντολμάδες comes back to you as ντομάτες both stuffed but not the same at all. But keep speaking Greek it’s worth it and very exciting.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Things go bump in the night.

At the end of the evening after a night out in Kefalos the last thing I want to do is walk back up the hill. That’s one hell of a hill from Kamari Bay to Kefalos as I’m sure you know so I’d much rather drive. But if you get a chance to walk you might just be in for a treat. For this is the time that the night shift takes over from the day shift and the Nocturnal animals appear.

Rustling in the undergrowth will probably be a cat and kittens but if you’re lucky you’ll find a hedgehog  rummaging around in the bushes or sitting bold as brass on the verge at the side of the road you might see a little owl so cute and perfectly proportioned . If you look really closely at the walls of your apartment you might spot the Jelly Babies as I call them ,small Mediterranean  geckos almost transparent with lovely little hands and feet as they cling to the ceilings and walls as they wait for the night insects. Dogs go by on patrol as they tour there estates.

If you’ve still got the energy to look up then the night sky has the most spectacular view of all. Clear, cloudless, unpolluted skies filled with stars as far into the Galaxy that you can see. A star-gazers paradise of recognisable Constellations and if you’re lucky the Milky Way. Take time out to experience night-time on Kos and take your camera if you can. The nights are as magical as the day.


Saturday, 11 June 2016

Birthdays, Private Music, Song and Dance

I’ve been going to Kefalos for so many years now, that during that time I’ve seen babies arrive, grandparents pass away, children grow up and have their own children and watched the wheel of life pass by siga siga. Most of you regulars will have adopted and been adopted by families because that is the Greek way and a great privilege it is too considering for many this snapshot in time at best maybe for only 2 weeks in the year.
I have a number of very special family friends and true to life all different, yet not necessarily all friends themselves but still held dear in my heart. I’ve attended weddings and christenings, Namedays and special occasions which with limited Greek involves a lot of smiling and drinking and nodding and let’s hope I nodded the right way as this method of communication can be a mine field.
So imagine just how special and honoured we felt when Manolis one of our Greek babies, now a young man played Greek music and sang for Ron’s birthday as his present and how little Dimitris only 18 months danced Traditional Greek for him. It was truly a privilege ,a very kind thought and act of love indeed.
ps and drank local wine from the Village it's delicious. Volcania Winery

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Frappe's Cafes and Banks

Show me a Bank anywhere on a Monday morning that isn’t busy. The weekend’s takings, bills for the month, pension withdrawals, money exchange and any number of reasons to be at the bank. The ease at which you could pop into your local Greek bank has now been replaced with a number system like the cheese counter at Tesco’s and old and young alike sit inside and out, waiting their turn. So what’s an hour and a half wait in a warm Greek Climate  when I’m only number 15.

Time passes slowly in the village bank. Occasionally friends and relatives cheat the queuing system by banking for two or three at a time and who can blame them if they’ve got a business to run, but no one gets cross as they pass the time of day chatting, flicking worry beads or playing with their mobile phones. Queuing might be a very British thing but the irritable edginess , sighing and tutting isn’t evident this morning in this Greek bank. I’d much rather bank in the village than Kos town any day. If you’re number 183 in the queue you could spend a small fortune in Frappes from the Taverna across the way with a clear view of the number system. I know, been there, done it and got the T shirt and lots of other things while I’ve waited.

η υπομονή είναι μια ελληνική αρετή μερικές φορές

Patience is a Greek virtue sometimes.


Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Whose place?

It takes a while to get used to being pestered at the table by doe eyed kittens, puppies with alluring ways but one things for sure it’s very rarely met with indifference be it for or against. Me, well I’m a sucker for all things small and furry. What you don’t expect though is a Peacock with attitude strutting its stuff like it owns the place? No doubt it understands the Greek for get down, go away or shoo or the body language of shove off but he chooses to ignore it, with that haughty stare and arrogant  stance with the self -assurance that this is my place, talk to the tail because the face ain’t listening. Beautiful, Majestic, Magnificent, definitely not cute . He’s still irresistible though.