Friday, 27 January 2017

No Sign of Siouxsie

The night before last was a little wild to say the least. As per usual I was up mooching around between 12 midnight and about 1.30am and, having been primed by the weather forecast from Saki (may his name be blessed) on the ERT1 TV channel, we were expecting something a little out of the ordinary. Actually, since I discovered Saki's Facebook page it's been brill, since we no longer have to miss a big chunk of the quiz show we're usually watching on another channel to catch his essential forecast.

Sakis is nothing if not loyal to his worshippers, sorry, followers, and regularly posts his entire TV forecast on his Facebook page at the same time as it's being aired on national TV. This can be a boon for another reason. The government channels are ERT1, 2 AND 3. Sakis is meant to air at 8.45pm each weekday night on ERT1. Years ago in the UK we used to bemoan the fact that the BBC was always changing its programmes at the last minute for no really good reason. This was true more so on BBC2 than BBC1, but you never knew, could be either or both. They still do it when a sporting event overruns, which is great if you want to watch the sport, truly grating if you don't.

At least on the BBC they'd post regular scrolling titles to tell the delighted (!?) viewers that may have just tuned in for their favourite show the reason why it would now be airing at a later and unspecified hour, or maybe that it had been shifted from BBC1 over to BBC2 or the other way around. I didn't say visa versa because I'm never quite sure how to spell it. Here it's never quite as straightforward. They're always messing around with the schedule and often here it will be due to some interminable dull debate in the Greek parliament that often as not will be airing on five channels at once. Sakis' essential weather forecast may be shifted from ERT1 to (usually) ERT3 with no prior warning and no scrolling titles to tell you that this is what they've done. The dead giveaway is discovered only if you know to go to his Facebook page to see his forecast, since the TV channel logo is a permanent fixture in the top left hand corner of the screen.

Last night is a classic example. Here's a screenshot of Saki (may his name be blessed) starting his forecast, direct from his Facebook page...

Notice anything? Yup, there it is, the ERT3 logo is showing. We'd monitored ERT1 carefully, flicking channels several times to see if he was on, only to be disappointed. If you'd checked the ERT1 teletext page or the schedules page on their website you'd have seen that according to these he ought to have been on at the correct time, but there was no sign of him. Instead there was some entirely dull political debate being aired and no info being given at all about where Sakis could be found, or indeed at what time. Often as not he just doesn't get aired at all, but in this instance they'd shifted him to ERT3, as they frequently do, without so much as a 'by your leave' and at a different time as well.

Now we have his Facebook page though, it's brill. We just go there later in the evening and almost without exception, there he is, although, as was the case this past evening, on the wrong channel. Hmmph. At least we know what happened.

Anyway, I mentioned that he's nothing if not loyal to his worshippers, sorry - followers. When we had the really bad snow last week (not here, but virtually all over the rest of Greece) he was actually running a live post from the streets of Thessaloniki for a while. You could watch him as he used his mobile phone to show you what was happening under the blizzard that was taking place around him and you could inter-act with him too. if you posted a question he'd answer it right there and then, assuming you were lucky enough to be one of the ones he was able to answer directly. He'll often post a detailed analysis in addition to his bulletin. The man's in his element when the elements are erupting. It's so obvious that he relishes the winter because, as I've said before, during the long summer months he gets fed up with just showing a chart with unbroken sunshine "ap'akri s'akri" (from end to end, as in from one end of the country to the other) and having nothing much to say apart from the Greek version of "scorchio." [Remember the old Fast Show sketch in the UK?]

Last Tuesday he could hardly contain his excitement as he issued a dire warning of possible damage to buildings and perhaps falling trees as a particularly violent storm was forecast to hit the Dodecanese islands during the small hours of the night. When the wind is forecast to be unusually strong it's never a good idea to be driving up to town or back from Kiotari. If you know about the rubbish collection system here in Greece then you'll know that the dustmen (trash collectors, guys?) don't collect from bins kept at each domestic property. The system here involves householders taking their rubbish with them when they go out and depositing it at the local cat hangouts, the four-wheeled dumpsters that can be found dotted along the streets and roads everywhere. You know the ones, here are some photos where I've inadvertently got one in shot...

Dumpster lurks left of picture

Here in the quieter part of Rhodes town, a dumpster is evident almost centre shot.

Right dead centre of this shot taken in the village of Apollona is one of the objects under discussion.

Now, having refreshed your memory about these dumpster bins, imagine charging along a normally safe section of the Rhodes-Lindos road at a fair old clip, only to be confronted by one of these trundling across the road right in front of you, being driven by the wind. Or, in another scenario, you could round a bend in the road to find one lying on its side slap bang in the middle of the carriageway. Call it Murphy's Law if you like, but the local dimos always manages to have emptied these bins just in time for another windstorm to arrive and set about rearranging them in fetching positions along the roads, making driving on the island instantly into an obstacle course.

As it happens, this latest storm was due to arrive in the middle of the night and thus we knew we'd be tucked up in bed or, in my case (nothing unusual there), pottering about the house in the small hours. As I lay on the sofa listening to the noises outside gradually becoming more and more alarming, it reached its crescendo at about 1.00am on Wednesday January 25th. By the time the lightning flashes had reached their peak and the thunder was shaking the house to the foundations, the rain was coming down in king-sized sheets at an angle that threw it against the shutters in a veritable blitz and the winds made it sound as though every banshee in the earth's vicinity was getting into a frenzy, I have to admit to having been slightly uncomfortable. It's that feeling you get when it's pitch dark out there and you know that you'd accomplish absolutely nothing by attempting to go out and have a look, apart from getting your slippers drenched that is, but you just know that terracotta roof tiles are liable to be clinging on for dear life and there'd be nothing you could do if they decided to go for an aerial excursion under the sheer force of the wind. Call it terror, I think I probably would.

A few years ago we did lose some roof tiles, as I reported in this post from December 2014. The other night I was expecting a similar outcome. The whole thing lasted for probably no more than half an hour before the banshees moved on and the rain subsided. There was still no point in going outside though, as it was still raining steadily and there would have been no moonlight to speak of with the thickness of the cloud, so I trotted off back to bed to see if I could get some sleep.

Next day by midmorning there was a report on the Rodiaki's Facebook page informing us that there had been a water-spout that had come ashore in Kiotari and done some damage to some tavernas near the beach. After lunch we decided to have a walk down to the beach to see if we could see what they meant, since they only published one photograph and it didn't make it very evident as to quite where in Kiotari they meant. When we reached our local beach, it was immediately evident where the water-spout had landed. The La Strada taverna had only sustained minor damage to a few roof tiles, the Pelican's Nest, our friend George's souvenir shop, had been damaged, but the real shock was the fact that the canopy over the terrace on Stefano's taverna was 60% demolished and the entire canopy of Anastasia and hubby Tasso's Il porto restaurant was gone...

You see the steps in the foreground going up to the terrace...

Well this was taken from those steps. Ouch.

Il Porto. This is really shocking because the canopy was very substantial. Must have been a direct hit. Check out the photo below...
This was Il Porto on October 16th 2016. My wife chats with Anastasia, the owner. That's a not-insubstantial canopy, right?

Il Porto again. You can see the "Pelican" from the Pelican's Nest next-door, now sitting on the roof. It belongs on the front of the now damaged gable end above the road.

One of several kalives that were completely destroyed. See how localised these things are. The one behind is intact.

As you can see from these photos, the weather next day was bright, mainly sunny and calm, as if 'butter wouldn't melt' so to speak.

Fortunately for us, we sustained no damage this time. Even the garden survived intact. The banshees came and the banshees went, fortunately leaving us none the worse for wear. No sign of Siouxsie though. 

Now go on, tell me you don't understand my feeble attempt at humour there.


  1. Whoa my goodness, I am shocked at your pics!
    PS Vice versa

    1. Probably not half as shocked as I was! Unless of course you're referring to the quality of my photography, in which case I can interpret your words in either of two ways. Vice versa perhaps!

  2. Hi John Just caught up with your posts since returning home. So glad we missed Siouxsie and had some beautiful sunny days instead. Poor Kiotari, it has certainly taken a bit of a battering. It was incredible that we met again in almost exactly the same spot as last year. Would have been nice to catch up in The Ice Bar but I take it something cropped up. Never mind, always next January. Best wishes to you both. Karen and Brian

    1. Karen, if I remember rightly, I said to let me know you were coming this year. Next time do e-mail us and then perhaps we can have a coffee on our terrace one sunny day!

    2. John, when we met you in the same spot we made an Ice Bar arrangement. We did say if anything cropped up not to worry that we would be there anyway. Senior moment? Lol! Never mind I will email you next time as a coffee on your terrace one sunny day would be lovely. Tc

    3. We didn't forget, but ended up much longer than anticipated at the "thing" we were up to during the morning. I do get senior moments though. What was your name again? 😝