News & Stuff

The future's orange • Tuesday November 21st 2017
The mandarins are ripe first, then, in another couple of weeks the oranges will be in full flow for several months. Here's my better half weeding beneath a beautiful mandarin tree in our friend's garden just the other day...




Support For Symi • Saturday Nov.18th 2017
Here on Rhodes, although we had some heavy rain last week, it was no problem flooding or damage-wise. The local paper even said how good it had been for the island. Symi, on the other hand, just a few kilometres north of us, was hit very badly and suffered floods, smashed up vehicles and all sorts of damage. 

So, my friend and fellow writer James Collins has decided, laudably, to contribute a percentage of the revenue from his new book to the Symi relief effort, in particular to the Symi high school to replace books etc. lost in the recent flood and mud. If you'd like to help him, here's the book's Amazon UK link.




Hot or cold • Thursday Nov.2nd 2017
Spent the day gardening yesterday. Also wrote a post under the title "Season's End". Another way I notice the subtle changing of the season is the fact that, instead of fixing ourselves a frappé, we used our cafetière for the first time since last April and had a filter coffee in the garden.


Tucking In • Tuesday October 10th 2017
Just added a brief report on a taverna called O Gialos (at Stegna) to the "Play, eat, visit..." page. We ate there last Sunday and will definitely be going again.


Looking Good So Far • Sun October 8th 2017


Initial reports in the Rodiaki newspaper suggest that this time the recycling bins are working. By and large people seem to be responding and the paper recently carried a photo showing bales of crushed cardboard at the recycling depot, awaiting transport to the dock and off to Athens by ship for processing. 

Notwithstanding the fact that my wife pulled a whole load of green waste out of a recycling bin the other day, most people do seem to have cottoned on to the idea of the new bins being for cans, plastic and cardboard, giving the lie to some who have asserted that the local dimos is simply chucking all the recycling in with the general landfill anyway, in other words, inferring the the recycling bins are a fraud to impress the public.

We're hoping that this is finally the start of something good.


Drip, drip, drip? • Friday October 6th 2017
27ºC today, clouding over this evening. Looks like we may actually get some real rain tomorrow. Hope so. If you're out here on holiday though, don't worry, it's liable to clear up by Sunday lunchtime. Hope it does rain, at least enough to wet the ground this time.


Dragons and Damsels • August 18th 2017
Snapped this little beauty sitting on a re-bar that's supporting a plant out in the garden this morning. It's a dragonfly by the way. I thought that, since it was quite petite, it may have been a damselfly. So off I went Googling and it seems that (as is clearly visible in this shot) it's a dragonfly because the eyes meet on the top of the head. Apparently damselflies have eyes that sit on either side of their head.

See, you even learn summat* on RFR!!


*That's west-country speak by the way!!!


Booking your room • June 16th 2017
I've just added details of a really nice and modestly sized hotel in Stegna, just over the hill from Arhangelos, on the "Stay" page. Scroll all the way to the bottom to read about the lovely Konstantinos Hotel.

As I wrote in the notes on that page, if I didn't already live here, I'd be very happy to have a holiday at the Konstantinos, which is, of course, why I added it to my "stay" list.


How Long is a Piece of String? • June 11th 2017
Writer and podcast-blogger Rob Johnson is soon to release a book based on the podcast series "A Kilo of String" in paperback and I presume Kindle format. based on the podcasts that I've listened to, it's going to be a riot. Here's his publicity info about the forthcoming book:

A KILO OF STRING
Everything you never realised you wanted to know about Greece or didn’t dare to ask.

After living in Greece for thirteen years, writer and reluctant olive farmer Rob Johnson has got used to most of the things that he and his partner Penny found so bizarre at the beginning. Most, but not all.

A Kilo of String is the story-so-far of this not-particularly-plucky couple’s often bewildering experiences among the descendants of Sophocles, Plato and Nana Mouskouri with occasional digressions into total irrelevances.

This is a book which is almost guaranteed not to change your life, but what it will do is answer many of the fundamental questions about life in Greece, such as:

How do you avoid ordering a double tomato for your pine marten when booking a hotel room?

Should olive harvesting be registered with the Dangerous Sports Association?

Why are chicken livers useful (other than to the chickens themselves)?

Why is it a good idea to wear your underwear inside-out?

Why is playing the bassoon bad for your health?

Oh yes, and there are some serious bits too about how life in Greece has changed since the beginning of the economic crisis.

A Kilo of String is loosely based on Rob Johnson’s podcast series of the same name, which is free to listen to and download right here.


Fancy Meeting You Here • June 9th 2017
Last Tuesday on my Rhodes excursion, one of my guests was James McGee, successful writer of historical thrillers. Check out his web site here.

Although his work isn't about anything Greek, having recently read a couple of excellent books by C. J. Sansom in his "Shardlake" series, I was intrigued and my appetite well whetted for reading some of James' work, since it seems to be in a similar vein. 

James McGee is actually his pseudonym but I am, of course, sworn to secrecy. He was, as it turned out, a very articulate and personable man and I count it a privilege to have run into him. He's a keen world traveller and although not perhaps a dedicated Grecophile, he did confess to having been taken by what Rhodes has to offer.

As an independent author myself, I can only hope that he has a gander at some of my work. Who knows, maybe I may yet become a household name!! 

OK, so don't hold your breath.


Turning pages • June 2nd 2017
The new book "A Jay in the Jacaranda Tree" is now available to order as a paperback. Here are a couple of links:



Free books about Greece!! • May 31st 2017
I'm delighted to let you know that my fellow author Effrosyni Moschoudi, has featured one of my books in her latest "Summer" Giveaway. People joining up to receive her newsletter become eligible to win a bunch of ebooks and one paperback for free, one of which this time is my novel Eve of Deconstruction.

There are thirteen books featured all together (12 ebooks, one paperback), a must for all who love to read books on a Greek theme. Click here to get all the gen and for your chance to win some free ebooks!!

Also, if you'd like to read my recent interview with Effrosyni, it's here.

Jungle drums • May 22nd 2017


I've just added details of the Jungle Tour with the absolutely crazy Nikos (pictured above with one of his guests) on the attractions page. Links to the web site, where you can check out the full details and book your place are to be found there.


Judging from the reports I get, it's a not-to-be-missed experience!



Fait accompli • May 19th 2017




Regarding the competition held on the Facebook page "We're Mad About Greece and the Greek Language" from back in March, to find a photo that best sums up the spirit of all that's Greek. I was able to present winner Amanda Settle with her signed and dedicated copy of my first "ramblings" book, "Feta Compli!" this morning, in the rain!


The entries were truly inspiring, and Rose (who runs WMAGATGL) and I had quite a task picking the winner. But it was great fun and, once again, thanks to all who entered.




Somebody Loves Me • May 14th 2017
A web site called ExPat Focus has just listed ten blogs about Greece that it really rates. they're not in merit order, which I'm pleased about because mine is No. 10 in the list. Even so, I'm well chuffed to be included. This is what they say about "RFR":


"Full of beautifully written tales and, well, ramblings that are uploaded as the muse takes the author, Ramblings from Rhodes is an intriguing insight into the bureaucracy, beauty and turquoise waters of a beleaguered island. With an honesty and clarity that can't be beaten, John is simply living Grecian life to the full."

Here's the link: "Greece - Recommended Blogs"



15 Questions • May 12th 2017
Hopefully you've enjoyed the interviews that I've been posting with other Greek-themed authors. It's occurred to me though that, although I quite like the system of posing the exact same 15 questions to the interviewees, someone out there may have a question they'd like to see included. I'm not averse to tweaking my list of 15 if anyone can come up with a different question that my be good to put into the mix.


If you have a suggestion for a question to use in the interview, perhaps you'd like to send it to me. Either click on "View my complete profile" way down in the left-hand column of this blog, which looks like this...



...or go to the contact page on my official web site, HERE.

Look forward to hearing from you. I may not use your suggestion, so please don't be too disappointed if you see no results from your message. On the other hand, your suggestion may be just what I'm looking for!



Back in Business • May 8th 2017
This was how the new-look canopy at Il Porto was looking last night as they were playing hosts to some early season customers...







Suitcases Stowed Away • April 23rd 2017
Back home on Rhodes again, so you may just see a half-decent post about life here just as soon as something actually happens!



Competition Time • March 15th 2017
There's a competition running on the Facebook group 'We're Mad About Greece and the Greek Language' to win a personally signed copy of my first book 'Feta Compli!'.


Entrants need to place a photo as a comment under the Competition post. It needs to be a photo that the entrant feels best sums up the essence of what makes Greece special. Only one entry is permitted per person. The page administrator Rose Robinson and I will choose a winner when the competition closes on March 28th.

The winner will be contacted by PM on Facebook and we'll then ask for mailing details plus what dedication they'd like me to write in the front of the book.

New entries are now not being accepted, but Rose and I have selected six photos as a shortlist of finalists. The photo with the most likes by the end of the day (Athens time) on Tuesday 28th will win the signed book.




We have the technology • Feb 26th 2017

Good news for fans of Il Porto bar/restaurant on the beach at Kiotari. Following the disastrous direct hit from the mini-tornado on January 26th [see this post], they're now well along with the reconstruction of the canopy over the terrace. I took this photo yesterday afternoon.



Island Music • Feb 25th 2017
In the post "It's a Crime Not to..." which is my interview with Anne Zouroudi, I've now added a link right at the end to a YouTube piece where you can listen to the entire two Parios albums to which I refer in the closing comments, with excellent sound quality. Hook your PC, tablet or phone up to your hi-fi and cop a listen. The music is beautiful. There are few ads interspersed among the tracks, but it's still an excellent way of giving the albums a listen. Plus the ads are very brief. It's only like listening on Spotify after all!





Read On... • Feb 20th 2017
Just to whet your appetite, I have another superb interview already in the can with none other than Anne Zouroudi (creator of Greek detective Hermes Diaktoros, one of crime fiction’s most enigmatic characters) which will be posted shortly. Following my interview with Anne, the next up in a few weeks time will be Richard Clark, whose eloquent travel guides are a must for anyone visiting Greece.



Form an orderly Queue • Feb 13th 2017
An author who's sold shedloads of books on a Greek theme, often in the fantasy/romance genre, is Effrosyni Mouschoudi and she's just done an interview with me and it's now gone live on her website. Click HERE to read it. I'd done one with her recently, which you can find by navigating down the left hand column to the section imaginatively titled "The Interviews".




Addicts Alert • Feb 11th 2017
A nice and growing Facebook group for Grecophiles is "Greece in Heart and Mind". They often share my posts there too, so they must be nice chaps/chappesses.



Ramble On • January 20th 2017
You can tell I'm a Led Zeppelin fan eh? Anyway, I'm up to 30,000 words on the new book now, so still a way to go, but the ideas are flowing thick and fast now, phew! It's liable to be bit edgy and uncompromising in parts, so be warned! After eleven years and counting of living on Rhodes though, it wouldn't be honest if it didn't show both sides of the coin.



"Christian Charity?" • Jan. 11th 2017
Read a piece yesterday that said that the Greek navy was sending warships to Lesbos to provide temporary shelter for refugees living under canvas in heavy snow and icy conditions. Local hoteliers also were reported as having opened their rooms to these poor unfortunates.

Interestingly, it was a Greek web-page which asked the question, what is the Church doing? Look at all those empty churches which according to the Church's own "mission statement" ought to be always open to all for refuge and shelter.


Could it be that they're worried about their gold icons perhaps disappearing? if so, wouldn't it mean that they think more of gold than they do of suffering humans?





Coming Back? • January 7th 2017

This is interesting. Note what it says about Greek nationals returning home being erroneously counted as tourists...
http://greece.greekreporter.com/2017/01/05/elstat-more-than-500000-greeks-left-greece-over-past-5-years/




Flying visit • Jan. 3rd 2017

Take a look at this fab video (shot by drone) of Lindos on December 19th 2016
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_I4NpU25ho&feature=share




Getting to know You... • December 25th 2016

Interesting story I discovered this morning. I won't make any comment, except to share it:


Refugees in Greece work together and build communities





Tell me • November 8th 2016

This blog is riddled with links to help the Rhodo-phile find out as much as they can about visiting Rhodes and what to do while you're here. By its very nature the sheer number of links that are now sprinkled across all of the pages makes it a herculean task to keep up with them all. Links do occasionally go out of date and cease to work. So I'm always extremely appreciative when a reader lets me know if they've clicked a link and found that it doesn't work.

If this happens to you I'd be so grateful if you'd contact me and let me know the defunct link and what page it's on. You can e-mail me through the section down in the left hand column entitled "The Culprit" and then click on "View My Complete Profile". There on the left is a live link to email me directly.


Thanks in advance for your help in this regard.





Fancy Meeting You... • October 22nd 2016

Hope you like the new idea of posting the occasional interview with a fellow "Grecophile" writer. As of today there are already three available, which can be found by scrolling down the left hand column to the section entitled "The Interviews" (I know, pretty creative eh?). There are already at least two more under preparation too.




Deer in the Dark • Sept 21st 2016

We had occasion to be up in Laerma village earlier this evening and so decided to drive back home via the Asklipio lane. Leaving Laerma at dusk was a magical experience, with the village street lights twinkling across the valley, illuminating the higgledy piggledy white streets and making them look almost fairytale-like. 

The road from the top of the village, which passes Thari Monastery not too long after it leaves the village, snakes its way across some wonderfully wild and remote countryside for several miles during which you don't pass a house or see a soul until you enter the village of Asklipio twenty minutes after leaving Laerma.


My wife said, "Ooh, maybe we'll see some deer." See some deer? Why, we saw them at almost every turn. Must have passed twenty animals at least during that drive. 


In 2008, when we had the largest fires on Rhodes for fifteen years, the village of Laerma was almost destroyed, but it escaped by the narrowest of margins. A Greek friend of mine who drives a JCB was up there in the aftermath digging ditches to bury all the dead animals killed by the fires.


For three years we didn't see a deer. Now though, their numbers have recovered and the area between the two villages of Laerma and Asklipio is one of their favourite haunts.


It's not a road you'd want to drive along in the dark if you have an unreliable vehicle though, because you are truly miles from anywhere for much of the route and if you don't know the road you could also very easily end up in a ditch, the edges of the road are so sheer and uneven in some places.


But if you want to go deer-spotting, it's perfect just after sundown.

More about this road can be found in this post.



All Exclusive? • July 30th 2016 (First posted: Dec 9th 2014) 

Frankly, this is even more urgent now than it was two years ago. Please read it and think about what it means, thanks.

This is a photo of a sign in the window of a Greek business. It's rather succinct in my humble opinion...




This is what it says:

"When you shop at a small local business, you're not helping a senior executive to acquire a third home. You're helping a young girl to continue with her ballet lessons, a boy to learn a sport, a mother to fill her family's table [with food], a father to pay off his loan, a student to complete his or her studies.

Support small businesses, they're the backbone of the Greek economy."
 


...and, I would add, of any community. 


It's rather an eloquent way of suggesting to potential clients, including - of course - tourists staying in the dreaded "all-inclusive" resorts, that perhaps they may like to do it differently next time. In general, the primary ones who will "suffer" if you reject "All-Inclusive" are those businessmen with their planned third homes. How deprived they'll feel to have to settle for two instead.


I fully understand why some people, especially families with small children, plump for all-inclusive holidays. But really they're falling victim to the hard sell. The tour operators who promote them aren't thinking of you, you can be sure of that. They most certainly don't care about how many small businesses go under throughout the Mediterranean area every year either.





Yet More to Read! • July 30th 2016
Just added a permanent link on the "LInks" page to another blog from Rhodes that I only just discovered. It's called Our Big Fat Greek Life and it looks good on first glance. Yes, that's a link above too!



Not Getting on With It • July 26th 2016

I am trying to get some writing done this summer, owing to the fact the the excursion numbers are down (I still blame the media!) on last year. The problem is, now that we're in high summer and temperatures are soaring, it's all too tempting to pack up a bag and nip off down to the beach when the two of us are off together. Which is what we did today...



(If you can't see the video, try this link)


This is our favourite spot for swimming. It's like this even during the high season. The head in the water, busily swimming off into the blue, belongs to my better half, by the way. 


Just a few hundred metres along from here is a section of beach used by a large hotel (you can see it toward the end of the above clip), where the umbrella are packed like sardines and there are people charging around the surface of the sea on jet-skis, being towed on those inflatable sofas, those rubber rings, all that kind of stuff, screaming all the while. There are kids shouting and running and splashing and the continuous sound of the 'bip-bapping' people playing with those hard bats and balls on the water's edge, something it seems that so many seem compelled to do whilst on their holidays, don't they. Weird. 


Here though, the sea is virtually empty of human craziness, the birds are audible and peace reigns - mercifully. Even the sun beds are only €6 a pair for the day, the money for which is collected by our Bulgarian friend who's worked for the same local taverna ever since we first moved out here in 2005. 


Glystra Beach is only a mile along the coast from here, but it's chock-full of umbrellas and hot, red bodies and the noise that goes along with them.


You can see why this appeals rather more than slaving over a hot keyboard in the sweltering heat of a Rhodean July, can't you. "A Jay in the Jacaranda Tree" has been started though. I am in fact on the third chapter, so at least I'm out of the blocks. The book will be a deeply honest account of more than a decade of living out here. It will delve into the deeper feelings that one experiences too, having re-located to somewhere a couple of thousand miles from one's relatives and the friends one grew up with.


Of course, there'll be a good helping of yarns about life over here too, warts and all as always.





Lick Your Lips • July 16th 2016

I don't doubt for one moment that hungry readers of RFR will want to know about this one...
https://kouzounaskitchen.com/2016/07/15/meet-maria-story-of-stefania/

Plus, she has a Facebook page too, click HERE.



Rhodes Riviera? • May 30th 2016

Our neighbour Giannis, over the hill from us, runs the Kiotari website as a labour of love. He's recently made it a lot more informative and I'd say it's well worth a browse if you're going to be in the south of Rhodes any time. Despite the fact there are some quite new hotels and ongoing development along the 'main road" here, the lower "beach road" is still remarkably sleepy for much of the way and at my local spot there is a clutch of tavernas and a bar which are all simply beautiful, situated as they are right across the narrow road from the beach and all with stunning sea and coastal views.

Check out the "Restaurants" page especially.





Take a look at the book • May 24th 2016


I was thrilled to read the latest review on its Amazon UK page of my latest novel "Sometimes You Just Can't Tell". If you weren't aware that I write books (both fiction and non-fiction), you can go to my official website by checking out the top of the column that appears to the left on every page of this blog. There are a couple of direct links to the site, where you can read all about my "stuff" if you'd like to take the risk!

Here's that review:





Have Fun Sightseeing • May 11th 2016
If you're coming to Rhodes this year, I'd heartily suggest you whack this on your Kindle before you come. It's a lot of fun (Click on the image below):





I do hope you'll read this and pass it on • Feb 29th 2016

The people of islands like Lesvos are facing a huge tragedy, one that could be potentially devastating. Please read this story, please do. Please also make it as widely known as you can.



Available for Comment - 2 • Feb 8th 2016

Author Kathryn Gauci has posted this interview with yours truly on her website recently. 


Available for Comment! • Jan 4th 2016
This interview just went live today.
http://interviews.blogexpat.com/blog/2016/01/04/from-the-uk-to-greece-ramblings-from-rhodes
 


Available for Comment! • Oct 20th 2015

I was recently interviewed by author Chrissie Parker for her blog. You can read the full interview here. She publishes one interview per month with a fellow author.
 


Read On... • Oct 18th 2015

A great site for instant access to a whole host of books to read. Click the image...


http://ow.ly/Tw8WQ
  


It's not what you know, but... • Dec. 28th 2013
He's such a nice guy, will do anything for a friend...




32 comments:

  1. Ha,Ha John. love the photo of you sunbathing with your socks on

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  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  3. Very soon there will be a review of Brief Moment of Sunshine by me, if only people would stop interrupting my reading with requests for meals, and lost items of clothing and help with holding ladders, digging holes etc
    Vicki

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    Replies
    1. I would reply to this, but I'd like you to keep reading please.

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  4. 'All inclusive' article is so very depressing. What fools people can be. I'm sorry, but it requires very little in the way of imagination and 'googling' to sort out a cheap holiday without resorting to giving one's money to tour operators as opposed to Greek hoteliers, restaurateurs etc.
    Vicki

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  5. Just to let you know, the link to www.exclusivelypefkos.com, on your Stay page, doesn't work John.

    Vicki

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  6. Is that Haraki in the background on your new links page?
    Vicki

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    Replies
    1. It's the same pic as backdrop to all the pages on the site Vicki and yes, it is Haraki (in wintertime).

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  7. Never mind Lindos music week, e've got Radio ! Big Weekend in the park not 5 minutes from my house. Hoping to enjoy Foo Fighters playing live tomorrow while sitting in my own garden.
    Vicki

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  8. * we've got Radio 1

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    1. You have my sympathy, Radio ! sounded more interesting! I'd also be interested in seeing the Foo Fighters sitting in your front garden while playing live.

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  9. We didn't bother applying for free tickets as we were so sure there'd be nobody playing in whom we'd have the slightest interest. How wrong we were, Muse, Foo Fighters, Ben Howard....................oh well, we enjoyed Muse last night and their light show was stunning in the sky above our garden!

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  10. I love your sister's watercolour of Lindos. Please pass on!
    Vicki

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    Replies
    1. I think I'd rather not pass on for a few years yet! Nice to hear from you though, you've been kind of quiet of late. I was getting quite worried.

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  11. Oh what? Where is the rest of my comment? What I meant to say was
    'Please pass on my appreciation of your sister's work'. As someone who cannot draw, paint or do anything much creatively on 'paper' I really admire someone who can!
    Yes I have been quiet, nightmares with Inheritance Tax forms. I need a holiday.
    Vicki

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  12. Common sense indeed, in the Guardian piece. Even Michael O'Leary is trying to do his bit, fares are tumbling!
    Vicki

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  13. Hi. Does anyone know what happened to St.Johns Hotel, Lardhos. We can't find any tour operator that goes there.Cheers.Andy

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    Replies
    1. Andy, I've been here 10 years and never heard of this one. Can you give me the location maybe? - John

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  14. Hi John. Thanks. The hotel was in Lardos. Heading north from the Olive Garden Hotel towards Lardhos there is a turning on the left which takes you into Lardhos village. Just before this turning (also on the left) is a small lane which takes you up to Saint John's Hotel. It was run by Angelo. Angelo's wife was Angela and they had 2 children. Angelo also had a brother, Michael. Many thanks.

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    1. Yea I know it now Andy. Yup, closed down. Don't know whether it'll be refurbed and re-opened, but not much happening there at the moment.

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  15. Love the new look page..................seems easier to read somehow. Also like the piccie at the top. Cantina on the bend by the big rock?
    Vicki

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    1. Quite, Vicki, near what we call Lardos "limani".

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  16. Just realised your pic of the waste recycling bins on Halki is the photo I took!!
    Vicki

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    Replies
    1. Curses! You spotted it. I suppose there will be the issue of royalties now...

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  17. A good meal or a couple of drinks should cover it!
    Please get rid of that awful weather too!
    Vicki

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    Replies
    1. Now you of all people should know that storms only last a few days here at best. Stop worrying. Plus we here wouldn't call it awful, we'd call it welcome!!! S'not like the UK, rain and stuff doesn't go on day after day after day... The dust is all settled and dampened down, the atmosphere is much, much clearer, the truly awful sweatiness is greatly reduced and the sun is shining today. Feel better now?

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  18. How do I add a photo for the competition mentioned above, John? Seems like judging is underway but you said it closes on march 28th???
    Vicki

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    1. Sorry but it is too late Vicki. Rose (who runs the page) did post to say that she'd be selecting a shortlist a week before the competition closes for members to vote with 'likes' for their favourite from the shortlist. If you want a signed copy, why didn't you let me know before? I can probably sort something out for you, what with all the courier work you do for us!!

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  19. No problem, I just fancied submitting one of my many, many photos!
    Kalo taxidi for next week!
    Vicki

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