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Topics - Jimbo

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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.

Information and help please / Ryanair cabin luggage
« on: March 06, 2014, 03:58:04 PM »
Has anybody got recommendations for lightweight cabin bags that will actually pass Ryanair's attempts to charge extra at any excuse.

Apparently, check-in staff get 50p per bag they can condemn. Outrageous.

San Stefanos news and views / Euro rate
« on: January 20, 2014, 01:53:05 PM »
The pound is very strong against the Euro at the moment. Probably worth buying.

Today (Jan 20 2013) is selling at 1.1930, which is the highest it's been for a very long time.

Post office is 1.186 (online). TravelFX remains probably the best rate in the UK at least.

I'll post here again if it goes up, which I doubt!

San Stefanos news and views / New Greek TV
« on: January 13, 2014, 01:29:00 AM »
For those who want to see a bit more than beach and bars, there's now an English language Greek news magazine on-line:

Well done the 13-year old Greek girl who won the world Junior Chess championship!

Information and help please / Jet2 from Leeds
« on: March 13, 2013, 12:50:52 AM »
In case you are going on the Monday Jet2 flight from Leeds-Bradford, the flight time has been put back 30 minutes.

That means that coming back we'll be lucky to get out of the airport by 1:30am. Good job I booked flexible car-parking.

Beginning to wish we'd gone with Thomson from Doncaster, as usual! All is forgiven.

Information and help please / Thomson's Baggage Allowance
« on: September 19, 2012, 05:36:08 PM »
I've just discovered that Thomson have reduced the baggage allowance from 20Kg - which it was in July - to a standard 15Kg.

So - if like us - you're going back after an earlier trip, be aware that you may be clobbered at the airport if you don't pay the extra in advance.

Charge for the extra kilos taken away is £28 per person! B*******!

San Stefanos news and views / Winding down
« on: October 02, 2011, 11:21:37 AM »
Things are starting to get quieter, now. On Thursday the beach was very busy, but after Friday's mass exodus there were far fewer people around yesterday. Mango Bar is progressively removing sunbeds and stacking them up ready for winter storage.

The record dry and hot summer continues into autumn. We've had no wind and no rain all week and the forecast is currently for another five or six clear days. Nights are noticeably cooler - light sweater needed.

It's unlikely that Zorba's will stay open for more than a day or two, according to Vasillis. They've stopped dancing already. Beachcombers will be staying open to the end of season.

We went to Ereikusa island on the boat trip. Fantastic views of the sandstone cliffs on the way to Sidari. The island is rather strange. Almost all the houses are shut up - looks like people just use it as a summer resort. Just two cafes open, although one was closed for a funeral wake. The funeral cortege went past while we were having lunch in the other cafe: the black coffin was on the back of a white pick-up, draped with flowers. The two principal women mourners led the procession - maybe thirty people all dressed in black, followed by cars, trucks, mopeds and amazingly enough, several quad bikes!

The island is quite small - much smaller than Mathraki -but has superb concrete roads everywhere, with the inevitable "Built By Europe" blue board to explain where a bit of the Greek national debt went. Nice boat trip - about half an hour to Sidari to pick up grockles, and then an hour to Ereikusa.

Back here in Ag Stef, Spiros is practically dragging passers-by into the Havana Bar in a bid to grab as many Euros as possible before the season ends - or the Euro ends, whichever comes first.

Despite the fantastic weather it has not been a good season. People have not been spending much money and the tavernas' takings have been significantly down at the same time as the taxes have gone up. Views vary on the future, but I get the impression that most people think it's when rather if that Greece will default.

End of season or not, watching football in the Athens Bar remains a loud and highly amusing way to spend an evening. The long summer sun has not induced much in the way of sanity on Nikos!

Also amusing was last night in Little Prince. Little Alex and tall Spiros now have this routine where Alex jumps and locks his legs around Spiros' waist and Spiros spins around and around so that Alex flies with his arms out. Last night Spiros was not there, so Dimitris deputised. He came dancing out to cheers and whistles, and Alex duly took off and attempted to latch on to Dimitris. Unfortunately they had failed to do the great tape-measure test before attempting this life-threatening performance. The floor is made of rather unforgiving hard marble. Dimitris is, let's say, more generous of girth than the six foot slender Spiros, and little Alex's legs are only so long. How we gasped as Dimitris started to swing Alex around, not seeing what we could see, that Alex couldn't cross his ankles! For a moment Alex seemed doomed to head-butt the marble tiles, and only frantic scrambling by Dimitris and others saved the lad from at least a serious headache.

"Dimitris tried to kill me tonight!" little Alex said mournfully, later on. I suspect he'll be doing a Tevez and refusing to come off the bench if the boss asks him to give it another try.

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