Protected: A Fairytale Greek Wedding – Skiathos Style!

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2nd Annual Folk Dancing Festival

Summer festivities are well-underway. Unfortunately I missed the Choir Festival with all the visiting choirs from around the mainland – I believe it was a spectacular event. However, last night, I did manage to catch the final performance of the … Continue reading

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Mourning, Miracles & Magic. Xristos Anesti!

Hello again! I don’t know about you (and if you’re very religious or a regular church go-er it’s unlikely you’ll be able to relate to this) but over the last few years, for me anyway, Easter has become a bit … Continue reading

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Xronia Polla!

T0day, Skiathos celebrated Greece’s Independence Day. A very brief history lesson : Being one of the holiest days in the Greek calendar, Orthodox Christians draw inspiration from the Annunciation of the Theotokos.  It was on this day that Archangel Gabriel … Continue reading

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So near – yet oh so far!

Here we are, May 1st already(!) – Labour Day. Yet ANOTHER public holiday and that means (deep sigh) yet ANOTHER day without progress!
There have been so many delays this month, I’m beginning to wonder if the construction at Villa Nicara will ever reach completion!

With the first guest arriving on May 18th, I’m really anxious now to return to Skiathos and check the progress that’s been made (hopefully!) in my absence. I’ve re-furbished several properties over the years so I’ve plenty of experience of the seemingly-endless, slow progress that’s inevitable in the middle of any build. But now that we’re nearing the end, it should all fall into place pretty quickly (though with only 2 &1/2 weeks to go, it may be I’m being a bit optimistic!)
I arrive back next Tuesday (May 6th) so I’ll take new photos as soon as I can and keep you posted.

I hear the weather on Skiathos has begun to brighten up at last, after the rains and wind that wreaked havoc on the island over the Easter break. The Art Exhibition had to be moved to the other end of the old port for protection from the elements and although well-attended, I understand the sales and target of funds (being raised for charity) were disappointing.

As a result, an evening musical recital was arranged in the Bourtzi itself this week, the paintings went on display again and some were finally sold. I’ve heard the Bishop from the Evangelistra Monastery himself purchased both of my contributions so I’m absolutely delighted! It’s inspired me to complete a couple of paintings that I started before I left:

‘Fishing Boats in Skiathos Harbour’ (in progress)

‘Oxi Day – Oct. 27th’ (in progress)

After this break, my head is now so full of new ideas and inspiration that I can’t wait to return to my studio and pick up my brushes again. Surrounded by the noise and dust of a building site or not, peace and tranquility reign supreme inside the art studio and I can’t wait to get back to it (and some sunshine – it will be very welcome after the miserable downpours and grey skies we’ve been having here in London the last few days!). Ah, Roll on Tuesday!

National Day Parade

Greece’s National day on Tuesday March 25th was great fun though quite a formal occasion. A parade along the Paralia (old port) by the local school children was overseen by the local dignitaries and patriotic, flag-waving spectators and was lead by the local Brass marching band. There followed a wonderful Greekfolk dance display in local traditional costumes to live music. It was a colourful spectacle, not to be missed.

Springtime on Skiathos

Arriving in Skiathos in mid February, I felt I’d caught the tail end of winter. Although apparently, it been a relatively mild one with only one or two really fierce wind and rain storms (and none of the heavy snows that Skiathos can experience) there was still a distinct chill in the air, the days were short and the nights were bitterly cold. The air, still thick with the pungent smell of woodsmoke, the island was completely still and incredibly peaceful. But It wasn’t long before I felt Spring was on its way. I awoke one morning to find that suddenly the island had sprung to life. The dormant meadows and olive groves had suddenly become carpeteted in spring flowers; seas of delicate lilac anemones everywhere! These were soon followed by banks of tall graceful asphodels, marguerites and wild and flag irises and still later, when the fields of bright red poppies appeared, and the swifts began their arial ballets , darting in and out of the koukounaries pines and twittering their bird-song in the Koumara bushes, I knew that Spring had indeed arrived. Up in the hills, the mists were receding to reveal the mauve Judas trees and lime-green euphorbias bursting into bloom. I think It really is my favourite time of year on the island. Not only because of the breath-taking beauty that is all around but that first rush of excitement, after the long sleep of winter, before the island really springs into action to make ready for the first influx of tourists, at Easter, is truly a wonder to behold.

The air suddenly becomes filled with the other sounds of Spring; countless strimmers and chain-saws buzzing in the valleys, cement mixers churning away in the distance, over-size lorries begin dashing all over the place, maneuvering up mule tracks to deliver their loads of sand and cement. Hammering and banging as yet more construction and renovation begins.

Skiathos town sheds its sleepy village winter persona and, seemingly overnight turns into a busy hive of activity as shop-keepers, returning from the mainland, open-up their stores, and set to sprucing-up, re-stocking their wares and make ready for a new season. Huge ferries begin to arrive in the port and empty their holds, depositing vast trucks and countless cars, laden with everything from supermarket supplies to building materials, onto the crowded quay-sides. Cafe’s open and soon fill up, brighly-coloured awnings appear, taverna chairs & tables are set out and the empty old port begins to fill up with the fishing caiques again, all brightly and newly painted after spending their winter shored-up in the boatyards.

Yes, a new season has definitely arrived and the annual circus begins…..