Whistling Around the Windmills

Brrr. A cold north easterly wind is bouncing off the hills and whistling around the windmills. It is about 10 degrees on Symi this morning and feels much colder as the wind has been blowing since last night. The power cuts have continued all week and yesterday most of the island was without electricity from early in the morning until late in the evening. Chorio looked quite pretty in the dark, with only flickering gas lamps visible and the lights of the odd passing car illuminating the roads. It was, however, a chilly experience for those who did not have alternative methods of heating and cooking.

When I first came to Symi back in 1993 power cuts were a frequent occurrence, particularly in the winter months when the rain caused short circuits and the wind blew down power lines. Indeed, it was not uncommon for the first rains in October to be marked by an immediate blackout. But as most people were still cooking on bottled gas in those days and using gas or paraffin heaters or wood stoves, the lack of electricity wasn’t as disruptive to everyday life. The shops had little gas lamps ready for use in the frequent blackouts and there were fewer display fridges and freezers to worry about – those were the days when fresh milk came straight from the cow or not at all and there was little in the grocer’s freezer apart from frozen French and Danish battery chickens. Now Symi’s demand for better infrastructure and a better quality of life, not just for the summertime visitors but also the Symiots themselves, means constant upgrades to the island’s power supply and thus more power cuts while these are implemented. Full size electric cookers and air conditioning have become standard in recent years and the demands on Symi’s little power station on the Pedi road are high. We have not seen the last of the intrepid men from the Public Power Corporation with their cranes and crampons for scaling poles and pylons.

The long range weather forecast remains unsettled with wind and rain expected over the weekend as the low pressure system currently over Italy and the Ionian tracks eastwards. There is another front following close behind it, currently over Spain and Portugal, which will bring us strong winds later in the week. This is a normal pattern of weather for this time of the year as rainy spells alternate with strong winds and bright sunshine.

ANES has now released the ferry schedules up to the end of January 2009 which will help a lot of Symiots and visitors finalise their festive season travel plans. More details can be found on www.symivisitor.com/greek-ferry.htm.

Have a good weekend.


Anonymous –   – (Saturday, November 29, 2008)  

Wind whistling round the windmills at about 10 degrees - that sounds almost like UK temperatures (though here in London we have a 6 degree max forecast for tomorrow). :-(

It does make me think of dining at The Windmill in October and having to move to a more sheltered table because of what I then regarded as a chilly breeze (probably only around 20 degrees!). No wonder Rhiannon doesn't stay open during the winter!!

Power cuts and gas lamps: now THAT takes me back to our home in the early 1950s. The house which my parents had bought still had old Edwardian gas lanterns in the sitting room: retained by the previous owners and ourselves essentially as ornamentation, but when we started to have frequent power cuts my father discovered that the gas company still sold mantles to fit these lamps. To this day I have vivid memories of sitting in front of the coal fire (of course) during the power cuts with the gas lamps sizzling away and providing excellent light. No power for 'the wireless' (it was a long time before we got TV) but that didn't matter as we had plenty of light to read by!

ΑΣΤΡΑΠΟΓΑΤΟΣ  – (Sunday, November 30, 2008)  

Hi Adriana!

I came across your blog the other day and was amazed by your writing style. It's really nice reading a winter chronicle on my beloved Symi. You know, winter in Greece begins on Saint Andrews Day.

Happy winter then and keep up the good work!

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About this Blog

I sailed into Panormitis Bay, Symi, by chance one windy July day in 1993 and have been here ever since. The locals tell me that this is one of the miracles of St Michael of Panormitis. A BA graduate with majors in English, Philosophy and Classical Civilisation, the idea of living in what is to all intents and purposes an archaeological site appeals to me. Not as small as Kastellorizo, not as touristy as Rhodes, Symi is just the right size. I live on a small holding which my husband and I have reclaimed from a ruin of over-grazing and neglect and turned into a small oasis over the course of the past 22 years. I also work part-time for Symi Visitor Accommodation, helping independent travellers discover and enjoy Symi's simple pleasures for themselves.

This page is kindly sponsored by Wendy Wilcox, Symi Visitor Accommodation.

Adriana Shum

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