December 2011 >> Page 1 2
Above - Driving into Stavros from Lefki. It's only 5.30pm but the sun has already set behind Cephalonia and the moon is on the rise since 3.30pm
December Thursday 1st - Firstly, Kalo Mina to all. Left & Below - As I said last week, Vathy is being dug up under the new paving. Well, it's for a good reason. For those that have been in Vathy during the summer, you have probably had a bad smell come up at you at some time during your stay. We all have gagged a little at some time. The old drains are being dug up and cleared and cleaned out to get rid of the smell once and for all (we hope). Last week there were also traffic blocks up in the back streets, they have disappeared again this week.
There seems to be quite alot of building rubble built up in the drains. No wonder the water became stagnant and couldn't pass through the drains. The drains are pretty old, over 50 years at least. Basically a big ditch walled in with stone.
The weather has been holding out quite well, but there is a little rain forecast for the coming weekend. Who knows, it may pass Ithaki by. It's known to happen. Meanwhile, I'm choking on all the burning off going on around the island.
Saturday 3rd - Fine weather days continue, but with all the smoke hanging over the island, it's a health hazard. Hopefully the change that's forecast for this weekend, will go some way towards clearing the heavy atmosphere, or maybe some laws could be made about when and where burning off can occur. Here on Ithaca, people burn off even at night and before you know it, the house is filled with smoke because a window was open. There are no restrictions on where burning off can happen, so as it happens, burning off olive tree waste can happen less than a meter from a house. Speaking with the fire department, they say, anywhere is ok as long as the house doesn't burn down. Like I've said before, it's like living on the edge of a forest fire day after day after day. Keeping the windows closed on days as these is a crime.
Left - The road down to Cemetery beach has been paved all the way down to the beach. Now, I guess there'll be parking too.
Greece TV goes digital on the 9th December. After looking at a pamphlet of where there will be reception, the areas that won't have reception are massive! Especially on the islands. Here on Ithaca, Vathy bayside has no reception from the Square around to the other side of the bay. By the looks of the map, nor does Poli or Lefki, Ag. Ioannis, Aetos, Platrithia and an area around the Kioni bay toward the cemetery. Uninhabited areas of Ithaca have great reception. Corfu, Cephalonia and Zakynthos are even more restricted. Guess if people living in those areas want to watch tv again, they'll have to move or lobby ERT to increase the areas of reception. The latter would be the more difficult, considering the stations employees have been on strike for months. Alter TV is also off the airwaves. They haven't been paid for months. This is a tale that runs through most of Greece as the government takes from one fund to pay another. Complaints of no payment for 2 months or more is a common theme. One institute had its money allocated for Dole payments. Does that make sense? All that's doing is shifting the poverty around. While people are having to live below the poverty line (and that's a statistical fact), products and services have not gone down in price. For those who have had their wages reduced by as much as 600 euro per month, with loan commitments, may have to seek their own 'haircuts' from banks in order not to lose their homes. Pay cuts to the parliamentarians still keep them living in a lifestyle to which they are accustomed, but here on the ground, it's taken people beyond what can be endured. Athens was once one of the safest cities to walk around in, now it's quickly becoming one of the most dangerous with crime now increasing. For anyone to believe that the EU wants Greece to recover seems ludicrous. This whole thing is sucking the life out of this country. When you think of the Dole, you think payments when you are unemployed. Well here, you only get a payment if you've gathered enough insurance stamps, which means you need to work for a couple of years at least. When you do qualify for the Dole, it's a limited payment. 6 months. Payments don't come every month, sometimes you get one or two and then you'll wait until your bills have built up to get 2 at once, maybe. There is always much more to a story than the headlines. I know for a fact that nowhere else in the modern world, would these measure be accepted. Yes, Greece needs a overhaul, but with hope of growth, not with complete destruction of not only its resources, but it's spirit. Once public property has been bought cheap, the seas have been exploited for natural gas and oil and the mineral fields have been pulverized, attention will be placed on the next target to exploit. I've always been law abiding and accepting of government decisions, but even I feel like kicking out... and the worst thing is... There is nowhere to run.
Sunday 4th - Lots of sunshine again today, but there are cloudy skies building all around us. Maybe we'll see some rain again soon. The temperature is still very mild though. Left - At 4pm yesterday, the moon was already in the sky. Days are very short now.
If you are on the island and have pets, you may like to know that Argos has organized 3 vets to be on the island. They'll be seeing to any of your pets if they have a need, not just the cats this time around.
On Wednesday 6pm at the Stavros Hall, a meeting will take place over the house payments levied on the electricity bill. A group is organizing support to not pay the levy, only the electricity amount on the bills. Apparently, the process is unconstitutional. A meeting in Vathy this past week, had the support of the Mayor, so if you are unable to pay the amount, or are generally opposed to this measure of collecting money for the government, then get along, sign your name to a petition and let Ithaki Council oppose this process on your behalf. I know entire villages of older people who do not have an income and will have their electiricty cut off because they are unable to pay the levy.
Friday 9th - In the early hours of this morning, Greece went digital. TV digital. Many of the elderly on the island are naturally confused with how to set it up and some are left looking at a blank screen. Left - Lefki, the road toward Vathy. Below - Vathy Square has another new statue. This time Homer has his bust immortalized in marble.
Left - View to Atakos Island and the Mainland beyond, from Aetos Bay. Below - Looking up to Perahori from Vathy Square.
Left - Aetos Bay. Below - A Periptero. The Mainstay of Greek life. It's the place we buy our newspapers, drinks, snacks, smokes etc etc.

Saturday 10th - Left - Ester van Zuylen has been putting Ithaca on the international map through her articles promoting walking tracks and trails on the island. The Olympic airways mag is just one of the places in which Ithaca gets some great exposure.

With the very mild winter weather we're having, there are still people out in the groves picking olives. There is also still quite alot of burning off going on, sometimes with no forthought. It appears that a land owner in Frikes decided to burn off right next to the Petrol Station against the wall of the petrol tank. It should have been no surprise that there were complaints and some stern words, but the land owner just shrugged it off and said 'it's alright'. Definitely not alright in my opinion.

Left - view toward Platrithia and Lefkada from the outskirts of Stavros toward Anoghi. The Frikes Olive Press has obviously got everything in order in regard to waste removal, as it has been up and running again.
Tomorrow afternoon at the Stavros Hall, the northern Ithaca Kindergarten community are having a Fete. The kids have made some nic nacs you can purchase and the mums will have refreshments on hand. Support would be much appreciated.
Monday 12th - A little rain overnight, just enough to rinse the past weeks' dust from the car, but today the sun is shining again, and although the sky looks quite interesting and dramatically cloudy, it appears it will stay fine. Very mild temperture too.
Left and Below - Stavros village. It's beginning to look like Christmas. All the villages have their decorations up and locals have adorned their houses with the usual fairy lights and neons.
Thursday 15th - It's quite a nice day today, as it was yesterday, but the day before, storms hit over the island that had lightning hit directly over over us. The power dimmed and occasionally cut, but no power out surprisingly. The lightning did however, fry our telephone and the cuts did also confuse our digital paraphernalia ie computers, dvd etc. Left - The rain, due to no drainage in our street, made a river for us to go through. Weekend neighbours letting their drainage holes block. Below - Frikes doesn't see the sun much during this time of year, but luckily for the residents of the village, it's not a complete ghost town. Kiki from the mini market is open all year around and at night, Fiorendino, Piperato and Symposium also open their doors for those in need of a social life.
Left - View across Platrithia toward Lefkada from Apostolata, Stavros. Below Left - View across Frikes bay toward the Mainland from Apostolata. Below - Kioni.
Above & Below - Anoghi outskirts.
Left - Hani (Chani) views. Below - Clouds shadow the Kefalonia Strait.
December 2011 >> Page 1 2