Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Forests, Farewells, Ferries, Bees and Books.

With its usual flair for doing precisely the wrong thing, the Greek government has put a prohibitive tax on central heating oil. The result is less rather than more revenue: no-one can afford the stuff and people are reverting to burning wood. There is now a big black market in wood illegally cut from Greece's 'protected' forests.
Here in the island, the intelligentsia (both of us) is lamenting the imminent departure of Gideon. He plans to drive his Volvo (sensibly putting it on the ferry for the wet bit between here and Volos) all the way to Amsterdam, with frequent stops at places of cultural interest. (Motorway coffee shops etc.)
The ferry company has evidently discovered 'Google Translate' and used it in preparing the English edition of the winter timetable. We used to have ferries that went to Volos via Glossa; now they go to 'Marble' via 'Language'. But let's be fair: how many English ferry companies publish a timetable in Greek?
At this time of year the bees are a bit dozy, but Dimitri, a.k.a. 'Honey Boy', has coaxed them into making a limited amount of a special winter variety of his honey, the best in Alonnisos, nay, the Northern Sporades, nay, Greece, nay, Europe, nay, the World. (That's enough nays. Ed.)(Who is Ed?) Because of the herbs the bees are currently visiting, this winter honey has an interesting bitter tang. Honey Boy's workshop is at the western end of the main village square, where he will sell you honey and perhaps show the mysteries of his centrifuge, which has so far escaped the attention of the American Secret Service.
At the Eastern end of the square, tucked behind the Church of Christ, Kyriaki ('Sunday') has opened her bookshop. (Yes, a bookshop in Alonnisos.) Opening hours are displayed on the door, and even if none of the books appeal, (so far, only Greek books, but English ones will be coming), she also does coffee and intelligent literary conversation.

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