Saturday, 10 January 2015

No Brass Monkeys

Well, this past three days has been very cold, in fact, record-breakingly cold. Our old friend Kostas, who's Rhodes born and bred (notwithstanding the fact that he lived for about ten years in Canada, so he knows about cold!) and is now around seventy, told us on Thursday night that he'd never experienced cold like this on Rhodes - ever!

We had a flow of air-masses down from the Balkans and beyond that took our overnight temperatures down to around zero C (32ºF) and even to -1 on exposed ground facing the north-northwesterly wind and during the day to around 4 to 7ºC at best. We've lived here since August 2005 and we can vouch for Kostas' estimation of the rarity of these temperatures. Brrr! OK, so in Bulgaria they were down to -18ºC overnight, but that's just nuts - hence no brass monkeys to be seen anywhere, eh? 

And Judy, over there in Alaska, before you say anything - we know we're a bunch of jessies and wimps, OK? Good, I'm glad we got that out of the way.

Fortunately, the temperatures are already rising back to what we'd expect for the time of year. In fact, tomorrow night's forecast is for 13 and during the day Monday it should be back to the upper teens, which means for us, if the sun's out, 20-21ºC, much more like what we expect. I tell you, we've been mighty glad of the log-burner and even had it on all day on Wednesday, something that we never normally have to do.

The great benefit of this cold spell has been, though, exceptionally low humidity and wonderful light conditions. Hence the following series of photos that I snapped just yesterday, when we had to make a trip up to Rhodes Town. Here goes then...

Our friendly neighbourhood Seat Ibiza shepherd brings his flock of a couple of hundred sheep past our gate every morning at the moment and they were just coming past when I got the car out.

The photos are of the stragglers, those mummies who's little ones were getting a bit left behind. I could hear them bleating "Mum! Mum! Not so fast! Wair for Me!!" So the mums would turn around and trot back a way, get their bairns up close and then scamper back to join the flock again. Call me soft, but I can't resist these little mites, who I reckon were also asking their mum's why their feet were so cold.

Quite a few of these shots show the clarity of the view of the snow-capped Turkish mountains off to the North and East. You'll have to click for the larger views, but you'll be able to see them plain enough. They reminded me of the view of the Rocky Mountains you get from Denver Airport, Colorado.

I can't ever remember seeing the Turkish mountains so clearly. We could even see them from Pefkos, almost unheard of usually. These few, though, were taken between Mandraki and the Old Harbour, as seasoned Rhodophiles will, of course, know.

This is right up top near the Lido café (Called the Blue recently too?), which appears to have closed down [maybe just for the winter]. It's the steps beside the Meltemi Taverna, just along from the Elli (that large round building at the top end of the car park above Mandraki Harbour).

The view out from the window of the Viamare Café. I's very unusual for there to be so few outside tables occupied. Inside it was heaving! Note the wooly bobble-hat, bottom right. There was even a head in it. Incidentally, I think that girl in the green jacket may have lost three rolls of wallpaper.

I couldn't resist snapping this because the old fella walking, well, shuffling really, with his stick looked so evocative, poor old soul.

I don't know whether you know the old polar bear joke, but here it is anyway.

A polar bear toddler is playing near his mother on an ice flow in the arctic. He comes up to his mum and asks, "Mum, am I really a polar bear?" Of course, his mother replies, "What do you mean son? 'am I a polar bear?' What colour's your fur, white, right? So you're a polar bear. Now go play in the snow."

Ten minutes later he's back to ask his mum. "Mum, am I really, really a polar bear?" To which his mum answers, slightly irritated this time, "Son. Look, your mother's a polar bear and you've got white fur. So, what does that make you? You're a polar bear, now go play in the snow."

Ten minutes later, back he comes. "Mum, are you sure I'm a polar bear?"
Really ratty now, she says: "Look, your father's a polar bear. Your mother's a polar bear. You have white fur like your parents. You live in the arctic. You are a POLAR BEAR. Why, for goodness sake, do you keep asking me if you're really are a polar bear?"

He answers, "Because I'm ruddy FREEZING!!!"

Now why did I think of that joke? Ask a brass monkey, ...if you can find one that is.


  1. Well, yes, John, you might be a bit of a wimp as far as the cold goes (not sure about the jessie--I'd have to look that up). But, I have to admit that zero C with a breeze would feel cold to me, too. We've had a warm winter except for earlier this week when it was -17.777 C for several days in a row. I've been seeing lots of pictures of snow in Greece--even on the islands. Love your pictures--especially the one with the boats and the Turkish mountains in the background. When I see the lambs it makes me a little sad to think they'll be on the rotisserie come Easter. I love the lambs, but I also love lamb. Thanks for the great stories and pictures! Judy

    1. Well, you may find that a "jessie" doesn't mean the same over there as it does over here, Judy! And I wish you hadn't said that about the lambs. I can't look at them now without seeing them as food for carnivores! You know, there was a famous cartoonist in South Wales, called Gren, who would always put sheep in his cartoons (along with rugby posts and rows of terraced houses). Frequently his sheep would have the slogan "Ban Mint Sauce" on their flanks. Dunno about over there, but in the UK mint sauce (made primarily with chopped mint leaves, sugar and vinegar) is a favourite dressing for lamb.

  2. Its been so cold we have replaced our sheets on the bed with fleece blankets & then duvet on top.Amazing the difference it makes. No more getting into a cold bed.

    1. I've been keeping my socks on in bed far too often lately too Trevor. Ah, my lost youth!