Wednesday, 11 October 2017

On Parks and Plates

Things are looking up in the parks and gardens around Rhodes Town. Everywhere you look it's getting smarter, tidier, neater and well tended. What can be going on?

Well, apparently, one of my Greek friends living in Rhodes Town told me that this year the local municipality has finally decided, after several years of simply leaving the parks and gardens to go wild owing to budget restraints, to 'sub out' the care of the parks and gardens to a private contractor, who's certainly been getting on with the job from what I can see.

When I sat down to write this post I fully intended to post a photo which I was sure I'd taken of a rather clever and extremely large 'bouquet' of flowers which is on display as you cross the bridge from Mandraki harbour to the Eleftheria Gate...

This photo courtesy of Wikimapia
If you were to stand just there on the right hand side and gaze down at the garden below that parapet, that's where the bouquet is situated. A lot of work evidently went into its construction and lots of people stop to take a photo as they cross that bridge. I could swear blind that I'd done the same, but could I find it when I sat down to write this? If you'd like to come back to this post in a few days time I'll hopefully have corrected my oversight and snapped a photo of it, which I'll then insert about here.

And my thanks go to Roger and Christine Sharp, who came with me on one of my excursions recently, for sending me these (first 2)...

And this one's courtesy of my correspondent and long-time 'fan' Annette Robinson
The area where they used to put on the old Sound and Light Show (the signs are still there advertising the now-defunct spectacle), just down and opposite from the Top Three bar and right across the street from the bus station ticket booth, was looking decidedly like a dense section of jungle up until a few weeks ago, but now it's all been cut back so that the walkways are negotiable and in fact there are pedestrians to be seen ambling along the pathways in there. The only problem is, the main gates which used to allow entrance to the show are still chained and padlocked. I wonder whether anyone even knows how to find the key any more! There is, however, access from the moat and that's how people are getting in there at the moment.

The walkways here were completely invisible before the parks contractors moved in. Now it's a very different story. (My thanks again to Roger and Christine for these two photos, this and the one below)

All in all, a markedly better vista for tourists and residents alike, who were subjected to a display of complete natural chaos up until recently in many areas which ought to be beauty spots, including Rodini Park.

The amount of work in Rodini Park is probably going to take years, but they have made a good start. (My thanks again to Roger and Christine for these two photos also)

Some years back, a Greek friend living in Asklipio surprised me by tootling past us on a moped while we were on one of our walks, whereas usually he drives a little Volkswagen Polo. Not long after that we walked down the lane past his family's allotment, which is on the quickest route to the beach on foot from our house. Hey presto, there was Basili's Polo, parked up and without number plates on it.  

"Hmmm," we thought, "that's odd. Maybe he has a mechanical problem and has decided to take it off the road." 

Here in Greece vehicle plates are under much tighter control than in the UK. You can't just amble into a car accessory shop and have a couple of plates made up, they are all manufactured under government control and each plate carries a hologram to prevent illegal copies being made. In fact, every vehicle license plate here belongs to the government. That's why when the austerity first kicked in and lots of Greeks found that they could no longer afford to drive their cars, there were huge queues of folk returning their plates to government storage centres, because as long as you keep the plates you're liable for the road tax, to get the vehicle tested and to have insurance. There were regular video clips on the TV news showing racks of shelving in Government owned stores all loaded down with car number plates. Cars without plates were to be seen parked up on plots of land all over the country, 'mothballed' while their owners awaited the day when they felt they could once again afford to run the thing.

As it happened, as we walked past Basili's VW, he emerged from the gate of the allotment across the lane and we asked him what had happened. At the time there was a hare-brained scheme that had been introduced to have a one-way traffic system in the village of Lardos. Thankfully, after a couple of years and various permutations the whole thing was scrapped and we all went back to squeezing past each other along the parked-vehicle-clogged Lardos streets without much of a problem.

Unfortunately, Basilis told us that he'd inadvertently driven into Lardos the wrong way on the first day of the scheme being tried out. No sooner had he proceeded to go a hundred metres or so along the street, than a Police officer pulled him over, inflicted a fine and confiscated his plates for a month. The worst of it was, this jobsworth was a school friend of Basili's, but would brook no argument. Basilis was off the road for a month and that was final.

See, that's what they do here, the Police take your plates. Under normal circumstances it has its advantages when you think about it. I mean, in the UK, if some twonk is driving dangerously, maybe under the influence for example, he can be banned from driving, but since his car still has plates he can very often simply drive illegally and, unless he's unlucky enough to get spotted or stopped, the rest of Joe public is none the wiser. Here, the Police whip out a screwdriver and take your plates. You drive anywhere without your number plates and it's very obvious very quickly that you oughtn't to be on the road. See what I mean?

In fact, just last week while I was doing one of my power walks whilst in town on an excursion, I saw a Police car behind an illegally parked vehicle and the officer was actually in the process of whipping off the plates with his trusty screwdriver. Imagine that owner coming back to his or her car and seeing the plates gone. Oops. To be honest, I have very little sympathy, because illegal parking is inconsiderate and all too often causes jams.

Maybe they ought to think about a similar system in the UK, eh?

And finally, here's a candid shot I took in yet another part of the Old Town that I hadn't previously explored until this summer...

Funny, but I get an irresistible urge when looking down this street, to say :"Ee were a great baker were ower Dad..." Anyone not from the UK will not understand that at all!!

Happy motoring!

1 comment:

  1. The Greeks have it sorted with law on the roads and as you say they should do this in the UK but sadly a lot would still break the law and drive about without plates. We saw several campervans parked up on a car park in Cromer back in August illegally and with no plates as likely stolen but the police did nothing about it along with the disturbances in the town. I bet Greek police get more respect