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Topics - Jimbo

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San Stefanos news and views / Guest users
« on: April 22, 2020, 03:25:43 PM »
I notice that there are lots of guests on-line. Quite a lot of interesting stuff happens in the Yammas bar area. To access this, you need to register.

It's free! Come on board...

San Stefanos news and views / Soap or sanitiser?
« on: March 22, 2020, 04:14:55 PM »
My experience from younger family members is that they are suspicious of an old-fashioned bar of soap. They think anything that comes out of a bottle in a slurp is better. They are wrong.

Here are the scientific facts, which have not been very well explained by government or media:

1.   Soap is more effective against viruses that alcohol
2.   Alcohol is more effective against bacteria

Bacteria are living organisms. They are like amoebas. They lock onto cells and fuse with them and then transfer DNA into the cell to reproduce, pretty much the same way spermatozoa fuse with eggs to make an embryo.  Alcohol is a poison, and kills them.

Viruses are not alive in the same way at all. They are, in the case of corona viruses, hollow spheres of lipid (fat) enclosing RNA, the more primitive precursor of DNA. They only have one purpose – to reproduce. They lock onto a cell using their spikes and inject the RNA into the cell. The cell then becomes a factory to make them in vast numbers.

Because viruses are not “alive” you can’t kill them; but you can destroy them. To do this you must break their outer walls the way a siege engine breaks a castle wall. Alcohol can do this, but slowly compared to soap.
Soap loves two things: water and fat. You can keep a bar of soap in a dry cupboard for years. But wet it, and it will develop a soft surface. Leave it in a dish of water and it will turn into gloop. When you wash your hands with soapy water it makes the skin slippery. Because soap also likes fat, if it encounters any, such as the fatty remains of the lamb chop you picked, up it will bind with it, loosen its grip on the skin, and it will slide off in running water. The same applies to corona viruses: the soap starts to  dissolve the lipid walls, which are punctured, like putting acid on a football. The virus bursts, spills its payload of RNA and is flushed off the skin.

Getting it off the skin requires some friction to help the virus to unstick. That’s why, as the actress said to the bishop, it’s important to rub if you want to get it off. The same applies to alcohol, but it’s not as efficient and takes longer.

Whomsoever of our ancestors discovered that mixing and heating sodium hydroxide, water and animal fat to make soap deserves a great big memorial. Soap has saved countless lives, and can help to save ours now. 

San Stefanos news and views / Nafsica or Nafsika
« on: November 20, 2019, 04:11:49 PM »
A while ago there was a discussion on the subject of how to spell Princess Nafsika on Facebook. I researched this quite thoroughly, and you may find the results interesting or tedious:

It's all down to the Romans and Latin. Latin (or Italian) does not have a K character. So when the Roman and later scholars wrote about the myth of how Odysseus was shipwrecked on an island bearing a marked resemblance to Kerkyra, they changed all the Ks to CC. Greek does not have the letter C. So it's about alphabets.

There is also some confusion about the letter U in Greek. It's really a V or F sound. I was brought up to pronounce Epidaurus in the Bible as epi-daw-rus, but if you've been to the wonderful theatre near Nafplion you'll know is epi-dav-ross. The Latin scholars, confronted with the word Nafsika in Greek changed it Nausiccaa - which sounds to us like a stomach complaint.

In Homer it's Nausikâ. Notice the kappa (K) and the U (F or V) and you get Nafsika. O Spiros fully accepted the answer, so you may notice that the webcam is Nafsika and not Nafsica.

Keep warm!

San Stefanos news and views / What I do...
« on: August 28, 2019, 02:40:18 AM »
I've spent a lot of time talking to people in Agios Stefanos about being a playwright and screenwriter, and there's always the question "What have you written?"

Apart from the grime of The Bill and Eastenders, there is one thing I wrote set in another beautiful, but very different, island from Corfu - Dominica in the Caribbean. Originally from Trinidad, the director Horace Ove was the first black director to work in UK film and television. Alas, Horace now has advanced Alzheimers. The producer, Malcolm Craddock, died last year. At the age of nearly 77 I don't have a lot of time left, and I hope this will be a suitable memorial to all three of us! Originally commissioned and shown by Channel 4, and recently screened at the BFI, "The Orchid House" has now been released on All Four. If you have four hours to spare, the link is here:

Out and About / Archaeological Museum
« on: August 16, 2019, 12:49:20 AM »
The Archaeological Museum in Corfu Town reopened this year (2109). Near the Old Harbour and Corfu Palace Hotel it's a great visit for those who like to find out about the past of where they are.

Interesting from the perspective of those of us who go to NW Corfu is that really was the heart of neolithic activity - the region around what is now Corfu Town doesn't have much there. The islands have many sites, and Sidari was very significant.

San Stefanos news and views / Pound/Euro 2019
« on: January 29, 2019, 03:48:16 PM »
Might be worth noting here any good or bad news when it comes to holiday dosh...

I tend to quote TravelFX for cash, because it's almost always the best rate.

Today the rate is quite good by the poor contemporary standards at 1.1403
IMX puts this down to lower growth in the Eurozone and the possibility of Brexit being postponed or cancelled. As nobody has a clue about what's going to happen it's all a shot in the dark.

San Stefanos news and views / Hair dresser
« on: June 24, 2017, 03:34:05 PM »
Patritsia tells me that her salon (opposite Nafiska, next to Hippopots, is not open this year for technical reasons.

BUT - she can still do your hair (ladies or blokes) - visiting you in the comfort of your apartment. Phone 00306947552205. If you forget the number, look on the salon door or ask at Nafsika.

San Stefanos news and views / Pound-Euro 2016
« on: March 17, 2016, 12:44:40 PM »
I notice various people have started the usual discussion on Facebook about whether it's better to buy Euros now or wait and see if the rate goes up.
Today (March 17) TravelFX's rate is 1.245.

Before Xmas it was over 1.4 - that is before Cameron announced the referendum date in February. The referendum has created a climate of instability, so it's very unlikely that we are going to see the rate go much higher.

HSBC and other banks are predicting a potential drop of 20% in the rate in the event of a Brexit vote:

The net result of that would be (on today's rates) a new rate of 0.996. As a consequence, we could expect a 20% increase in the cost of a holiday.

The conclusion for me is that it's probably better to buy Euros well before June. If it goes much above 1.3 I'll get some.

Where to stay / Tsaros paths
« on: February 27, 2016, 04:17:57 PM »
Braving the hill, we're staying st Tsaros in July.

Maybe those who have stayed there can answer this: it looks as though it's possible to get from the road that goes up between Nafsika and Kamini, above Angela, through some apartments to the road just above Tsaros. Anybody know?

San Stefanos news and views / Beach - a hypothesis
« on: October 17, 2015, 01:30:27 AM »
A distinguished local who cannot be named said to me that he/she thought that the extreme narrowing of the beach at the Havana/Mango point was a result of construction work there - extensions to Mango and Delfino Blu.

I could not see how this could happen, but many of us remember the wide beach there, the football pitch below Havana, even the cabana on the beach. The beach is not (to my recollection) significantly narrower anywhere else, and was almost visibly widening at the other ends this autumn.

So I've been pondering this. Why would the tides attack this sector more than the others? Variations in the tidal drift could perhaps do it, and that was the theory presented to me. But we would expect those to be random and on average cause a small coming and going. What we are seeing is consistent erosion in one "hot spot." What mechanism could consistently produce this effect?

The beach, as we all know, at Agios Stefanos is very flat, with a low tidal range. Low points on the land side of the beach will be more vulnerable to inundation.  Even a 0.5 centimeter lowering of a region could cause more aggressive tidal influx and hence more erosion.

Concrete weighs a lot. The geology there is sandstone. I'm not a geologist, but I can imagine that sandstone may be subject to compression. Is it possible that several tons of concrete close to the beach could be lowering the beach level just enough to permit attack?

If anybody knows a geologist or structural engineer, please pose this question. Meanwhile, I will send it to New Scientist - that's a free way of getting expert advice.

Should this theory be correct, that sector of the beach will not recover. It may be rubbish, of course. But there has to be a rational explanation.

San Stefanos news and views / Autumn 2015 report
« on: October 11, 2015, 03:47:25 PM »
All I can say is, we were very lucky. Before we left the UK on September 25th the weather forecasts for the entire two weeks were dire. Storms were raging across Spain and Italy, and their tracks looked like clobbering Corfu. We went armed with umbrellas, cagoules, changes of clothing, a laptop, playing cards and crossword books.

Our plane from Robin Hood was on time, and we landed at 7:25 in the evening. There were big puddles at the airport, but it was dry and warm. As the bus drew away from the parking bay the rain began and turned into a torrent. Only later did we learn that planes earlier and later than us were aborting landings, circling for a long time and then going off to Athens or Thessonaliki to refuel.

When we reached the second mountain range, the rain stopped. Joy of joys, the bus went via Arillas and not Sidari, and only stopped once to drop the St George's people before we arrived at Little Prince for the usual hugs. There was a tiny shower in the morning, and that was the last rain we would see for ten days. There was a cool breeze for 24 hours, and from then on, apart from one brief evening blow, it was remarkably calm and warm. It was my birthday on the 26th, and Spiros at Nafsika brought a goodly slice of cheesecake with a solitary candle. I was touched.

Apart from walking to Akrotiri and another day to Arillas, we did pretty much nothing. Dropped in on Lesley, and of course went to pat Jackie and Pete and catch up with Bod. We divided our days between the beach and the Nafsika pool, where I did quite a bit of writing sitting in the bower with a beer, so I was pleased to come back with nearly half of a new novella written.

We had some wonderful food. Nafsika was on the top of its form, with lovely fish, moussaka, lamb on the spit and more. Spiros likes to test new menu items out on us, and one lunchtime I had a fantastic starter invention: mildly-spiced slivers of liver, onions and peppers with a delicious sauce, elegantly served in a crispy baked potato shell. Utterly yummy. We spent quite a long time deciding what it should be called without reaching a definitive answer. We’d also moaned to Spiros that Agios Stefanos never had green beans in a nice tomato sauce that you can get everywhere else in Greece (flat beans, not those stupid skinny French things). Stung by this slur on Corfiot cuisine, he emailed me the next day to say he got some runner beans, and when did we want them? Later that day a superb lunch of said delicious beans, with scrumptious tiny crisp whitebait and keftades – meatballs.  At Nafsika you don’t just get food – you get cuisine. Also on the menu while we were there were lovely chicken kebabs at Little Prince, and, of course, a big bowl of moules frites at Beachcomber.

The first week was a busy one for the village; the second was the quietest I have ever seen, probably because Thomson had cancelled all Monday flights apart from a couple of main airports. Little Prince had only a handful of people in the evening, and mostly didn't do any dancing.

Met some very nice and interesting people  in the Nafsika bar - including Catherine Barnes, who is a superb artist, and Tracey, who is a somewhat gorgeous embalmer, of all things.

Wednesday evening there was a massive storm. We got to Nafsika for dinner just before it started, and when we left at midnight it had abated.

Thursday was the last night at Little Prince. The place was packed. Dimitris had laid some kitchen staff off on the Monday because it had been so quiet, and now, faced with a full house he had to spend the evening cooking. Pavlos, having closed Zorba's, came to dance and help out. Later Dimitris complained that Pavlos had used seven times as much barbecue lighter fuel than Dimitris used, and indeed Alex's Zorba's Dance looked a bit like a clip from The Towering Inferno. The smiles were genuine that night. It had been a scorching summer, and everyone in the village was exhausted.

Friday morning the tables and chairs were all packed away. Our bus didn't leave until 4:45 pm, and we spent the day at Nafsika Pool, had a great lunch, then went up to Hippopots to buy a new frog for my desk collection, and say goodbye to Jackie and Bod.

We already knew our flight was delayed, because Doncaster airport's arrivals web page showed the incoming plane from Malaga that then becomes the Corfu flight was on a fifty-minute delay. So, some sitting around in the cafe outside the airport, flight, driving back to Hull and getting home just before midnight.

Despite the gloomy forecasts - we had two weeks of wonderful weather. Agios Stefanos wove its usual spell of good food and good company. Gillie so did not want to come home that she burst into tears when Spiros kissed her goodbye.

San Stefanos news and views / VAT and Greek economy
« on: May 14, 2015, 03:36:43 PM »
Greece's future in the Eurozone is still uncertain.

Many people here and on Facebook have expressed fears about VAT changes and how it might cause them to eat less and lose a bit of weight.

However, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has just released a statement saying that there will be NO VAT changes until the end of the summer.

So, with that fear out of the way, we can all help the local economy by going on lots of trips and over-indulging in food and drink. Yammas.

San Stefanos news and views / Thomson feedback
« on: October 13, 2014, 08:56:47 PM »
Here is what I have sent:

I’m afraid that Thomson will lose a great deal of sympathetic customers unless someone addresses the farcical arrangements for coach transfer to and from NW Corfu. We suppose that the coach link is not designed to be a special nightmare experience thrill ride, but it can be.

We returned from San (Agios) Stefanos on Friday October 10th 2014 after a very good stay at Little Prince. The coach to the airport arrived a few minutes before time, and had already picked up in Sidari, which is always good news. We were flying to Doncaster on the evening flight.

Sitting across from us was a woman of about 35 to 40 travelling on her own, but going to Luton. Her bus had failed to pick her up, despite the fact that she was outside her apartment. Her flight was scheduled at 19:35, ours at 20:35. She was very nervous, understandably, but there was plenty of time to get her to the airport.
We set off from San Stefanos and stopped to pick up in Arillas – which is normal. We then waited at the car park later on for the mini-bus from St Georges to drop off a few people.  The mini-bus was late. Twelve minutes. The “Luton Lady” was becoming edgy. But there was plenty of time at this stage.

The bus driver was excellent, funny, organised,  and spoke very good English
So far, so good. But then, when we were about ten minutes from the airport we stopped to pick up from a hotel complex. This was a long wait, because some people on the list had obviously decided to make the ten minute journey to the airport by taxi, rickshaw, donkey or some other more efficient means and neglected to tell the Rep,  reception, or Facebook. Eventually, now running well behind schedule, the driver received a radio message to leave without them. Great – but:

This farce was then repeated at another hotel even closer to the airport. Some people had been on the bus for well over two hours, and frankly anger was rising. One taxi or minibus could have picked up those in the immediate area of Corfu Town. Instead, we who had come across the mountains were forced to endure probably forty extra minutes on a coach.

As we drove along the road that crosses the north end of the runway our driver said, on the PA, “There’s the airport, but there are no planes. Don’t worry. Maybe some will come.” And that was true.
Fortunately, “Luton Lady” was taken first off the bus by the Reps at the airport in time to check in for her flight, and we had no queues. Our flight left ahead of schedule.

We can all accept that it’s a winding journey across the mountains from the airport to San Stefanos, St George’s, Arillas and Sidari. What is NOT acceptable in either direction is to make those who are going there suffer long delays caused by pick-ups and drop-offs at hotels and complexes in the immediate vicinity of Corfu Town. The savings to Thomson must be miniscule in financial terms, but the cost is enormous in good-will and tolerance. In other words, this practice is and was a PR disaster. Many people had enjoyed a good holiday; was it necessary to make them frustrated and annoyed on their way home? Nowhere south of Dassia should be picked up by a coach from the north of the island.

Please take this seriously. You frequently ask for feedback. This is feedback. Feedback without action taken is futile.

San Stefanos news and views / Airport security
« on: July 09, 2014, 10:21:49 AM »
In case you haven't heard the news, it looks as though the requirement to power-up electronic devices at Security, originally applying to USA flights only, may be extended to all flights.

We'll certainly leave 30 minutes earlier than we would have done this Friday. Security at Doncaster is unsmiling and overly jobs-worthy at the best of times, so I shudder to think what it will be like if they're told to step up their zeal. They usually insist on swabbing my Kindle and making me sign a log-book. Gillie's hand-bag is frequently disassembled.

The underlying reason is that the high-density batteries in modern devices are the obvious thing to replace with explosives.


San Stefanos news and views / Forum stickers
« on: April 10, 2014, 01:16:11 AM »
People are always asking how they can recognise other forum members, apart from the fact that they're generally good-looking and classy.

I'm delighted to say that Hotel Nafsika has offered to co-sponsor with my company (Scene Cinema Ltd) a "sticker" initiative, so huge thanks to Spiros!

I have selected a tasteful abstract cocktail glass design, on small round slap-on stickers, which I think will not clash with most evening wear, or even pink flesh.

They will be printed next week and shipped to Nafsika. You will be able to stroll up to Nafsika for a coffee, drink, meal or whatever and pick up a few stickers.

The forum keeps us going over the winter with news of friends here and there, and I hope this simple initiative will help to forge new friendships.

The stickers are not really that cheap to produce, so if you want lots we may ask for a modest contribution.

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